Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Fire Next Time....

Just a heads up.....

Uncle Jerry is proposing a $150 tax on properties lost in the woods....actually, those in the State Responsibility where CalFire is the ultimate protector and responder to wildfires.

Seems reasonable.....

You have to sympathize with Uncle Jerry....trying to sneak revenue increases past the Republicans while trying to sneak service cuts past everyone else.....all in the name of balancing the budget.

But....take a moment to review the current map of the SRA....

Everything is in the SRA.

All of Pebble Beach. All of Carmel Valley and Cachagua.

A tiny strip along Carmel Valley Road is allowed to the locals.....but everything within a few meters of the road is in the SRA.

Right now we already pay $100 or more dollars levied on our parcel tax to Cachagua Fire.....our Fire Protection District. I am willing to bet that parcel holders in Carmel Valley pay a similar tax to firefighters in the Village or Mid-Valley. Believe it or not, my Health Department permit for Cachagua pays forty or fifty bucks for ambulance service in Seaside!

As someone who lives 300 meters from a CalFire station.....which is awesomely captained by the daughter of a dear friend.....I have no problems paying my fair share.
But what happens to Cachagua Fire?

In the last fire, whose T-shirt I am wearing as I type......Cachagua Fire got completely dissed and buried by warring bureaucracies. The folks with the local experience and knowledge and expertise were at various times actually banned from access to their own areas of responsibility.

Plus, the way the bill is written.....the levy is based upon the number of structures on a given parcel. We have my fire protection bill goes from $100 to $550. My landlord's fire protection bill goes from $100 to more than $6,000.
And, it would appear that we have less say about allocation of resources before, during and after a fire event.

I am not a completely happy camper here......

More clarification anon......after a word or two with John Laird and Bill Monning.

Friday, July 01, 2011

I Vahs Not Zhere.....

I grew up with Hogan's Heroes. Sgt. Schultz: "I see....No-zzzzingk!" Plausible deniability was part of my birthright.

Meanwhile.....Col. Klink (Werner Klemperer) was the son of Otto Klemperer, a friend of Mahler and a genuine genius who was one of the first Jewish emigrants from Germany after Hitler took over...

Anyway.....In the last few years we have all become jaded by the constant allegations of cheating from our premier athletes: baseball idiots, Lance Armstrong, Olympic stars, soccer stars.....

My favorite soccer-related faux-pas was when Didier Drogba ran afoul of the drug testers a few years back after a trip home to Cote d'Ivoire. He tested positive for marijuana...after visiting his grandma on holiday. "What am I supposed to do....not have Grandma's famous Christmas green cakes?"

The soccer bureaucrats let that one slide......

We are led to believe that Lance Armstrong has giant balls....well, one giant please ignore his over the top testosterone test. Fine.

They are all lying, right?

What if they weren't? Even the horrible abusive French serial rapist financier is being released today.

Last week five members of the Mexican National Soccer Team were suspended for blood levels of a steroid, performance-enhancing drug: clenbuterol.

This was days before the start of the Gold Cup....a competition amongst the various North American soccer countries. The winner of the Gold Cup plays in the Copa America....a competition for the title of the whole Western Hemisphere. The players banned were not numb-nuts.....they lost the starting goalkeeper and four other high end players.

No serious person denies that blood doping and performance enhancing drugs do not flood all through professional sports. Serious people also realize that high-end athletes have high-end trainers that walk them through the various chemical mine-fields that await. Sudafed? No way. Clenbuterol? GTFOH.

Clenbuterol is a steroid of such low class and low effect on human performance that no serious trainer would ever think to involve it in his athlete's "nutrition and training" program.

Clenbuterol works really well with beef and pork production. It amplifies lean muscle mass and is used in huge quantities in "modern" meat production.

By "modern" I mean: untested, unscrupulous, corporate, profit-driven meat production.

Right now our Tea Party Republicans are trying to gut the already limited inspection powers of the USDA and the FDA. Today, less than 1% of agricultural and meat products coming in to the US are even cursorily inspected. These clowns want to cut that.....supposedly because regulations and inspections are BAD FOR BUSINESS.

My friends and I (Passionfish, Mundaka, Bernardus, Tree Bones, etc) pride ourselves on the quality of our ingredients. Eating with us costs more than eating at Red Lobster....because we value our sources. If our competitors can buy dangerously cheap, crazy shit from China and Mexico for half our costs....we are at a huge disadvantage. All our suppliers are in America, and all our suppliers have valued workers who they try to pay real do all of us.

I love the FDA and the USDA. They validate my hard work, and the hard work of my workers, and the hard work of my suppliers.

The Mexican soccer players are not stupid enough to take clenbuterol for physical advantage. There is better stuff that is still undetectable. These guys are millionaires.

The clenbuterol came from the food they ate. They ate pork or beef so saturated with clenbuterol that after they digested it....they flunked an anti-doping blood test!

This meat is now being imported into the US by way of NAFTA. Unless you are a professional athlete in a sport that tests for will never know.

If you think I am kidding...check out this article from the last bastion of real journalism in the continental US....the LA Times.

Clenbuterol poisoning in China is so widespread that it is becoming a social issue. And Chinese pork and beef is everywhere in America....subject to less than a 1% inspection rate.

And you Tea Party motherfuckers want to CUT our food safeguards?

Government enforced standards help me in my business. They protect my workers' jobs, and protect my suppliers' workers jobs....

I love the Monterey County Health the Environmental Something Something. Our inspector is Roger, son of Mario. Mario grew up on Cannery Row with Bert and Ted...The Factory, Neil DeVaugn's...Mario still does cameos at Los Laureles Lodge.

Roger is not some oppressive bureaucrat....he is our partner in food service. Roger comes by twice a year and checks out scene. He hated our compost pile, but grew to accept it. He still hates our salmon smoker.....but we agree to disagree. Roger makes sure that my operation bends to the letter and spirit of the law....and my customers can have confidence in our operation. I can fall back on Roger's opinion if questioned....

And most important to me....everyone else that Roger inspects is at least as sanitary and organized as I am. Anywhere I go that Roger inspects.....I can feel safe.

My permit from Monterey County costs about $700 per year. Two bucks a day.

I do not feel oppressed, and my customers do not feel overcharged because of government oversight.

But then again.....I don't buy Mexican or Chinese beef, pork....or anything.

Words fail.