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Published on June 29, 2015 By Phil Osborn In The Media

11/14/2015  As a reward for all my good work - I have to assume - I now have 2 (TWO) separately numbered ballots for the KPFK election of the Local Station Board.  Or, it could be a test of my honesty, so I better play it straight. Or, it might be entrapment, as this election cycle resulted from some intense legal action, I've heard, involving, I think, Federal Judges, WHO are not likely to be amused at seeing all their work to provide a fair election subverted.  One ballet  is for one variation on my name; the other is for a different variation - call them X and Y.  Both to exactly the same address. 

But, I only paid for one - don't recall which.  So, which one do I use?   And if this other me exists on the station member listing, then that inflates the paid listener base by one.  With the vast number of candidates running, there is a real chance that one vote may decide a result, especially with the "instant run-off" system - that I originally suggested to the then appointed LSB back around 1983.

Meanwhile, the ballots mention that it is possible to write in candidates, but they don't say WHO can be nominated or - more importantly perhaps - legitimately elected.  As such, with no information, write-ins may distort the election.  What do you do for all the people who lost their vote, writing someone inelligeble in?   More courtroom drama ahead, is my guess.

Meanwhile, if the system is so sloppy as to ballot me twice, how many similar cases are there?  And, for what purpose?

8/03/2015  I finally received two voicemail msgs from 7/23 that I had not a clue about.  I vaguely recall getting something, but the message was so garbled with dropouts that I gave up tying to decode it.  Boost seems to store the original message on their server and then resends it whenever you go to voicemail, so the quality is all over the map.  The two msgs were from the guy who actually signed up to run, but didn't follow through, largely - I suspect - because he couldn't get through to me. 

O'well.  My next big scheme is to get libertarians back into connecting with the local sf scene.

7/30/2015  The final pieces of the farce are emerging now...  The one person who I managed to definitely get on board as an LSB candidate, as I finally discovered this last Tuesday, jumped through all the hoops set up by Pacifica National, got his KPFK membership taken care of just in the nick of time, and could be running his campaign today, but for one factor.  He didn't feel ethically comfortable about going to a "candidate nomination signing party," an objection which is on ethically sound grounds.  He wasn't happy with signing off on nominations of people who he might have real reservations about and I share his misgivings.  But that charade is put on by the station, where - along with other locations - the motley crew of wannabe candidates all sign each other's nominating petitions until everyone has the necessary minimum of 15 valid signatures.  This is supposed to make you a valid candidate.  How this works, ethically, and by what magic the number "15" was chosen, is perhaps best left unexamined, if your priority is maintaining ethical coherence in your life.  

I could see a park meetup as we did with Occupy. where everyone gets 3 minutes max to sell their candidacy to a crowd of non-nominees, but the whole idea of signing off just to get nominated regardless of the real opinions of ones partners of convenience, in what may be fraud, stinks to high heaven and only provides real value in the way it exposes matters of character.

This, in fact, illustrates an underlying and unfortunately pervasive aspect of much of the Left.  They don't generally take ethics very seriously, not only because of the Marxist influence, but also because they have fallen for the revolutionary fallacy, that what they are doing is saving the world and so that overrides any paltry ethical considerations.  The reader may notice that logically and in fact, this boils down to "might makes right."  And, it's no wonder then that when even the best of them - Fidel Castro - actually takes office, the lack of ethical restraint devolves the ideals into a reign of poverty, corruption and often terror - e.g., Zimbabwe.

When I myself ran for the LSB in the first two elections (and came very close to being elected), the ethical vacuum quickly manifested itself when they ran my one-minute statement repeatedly in Spanish - during English broadcast time and via a translation that I never signed off on.  When I attended several meet and greet events, I noticed that some candidates appeared to speak a lot longer than others.   So it goes.  Try entering any serious critique out of step with the PC line of any number of leftist oriented meetups, and see how quickly it get's erased.  I think their theory is that the truth is after all a social construct, so all we have to do is persevere in suppressing socially dangerous ideas in order for our "truth" to prevail.  The NAZIs also held that position.

Anyway, the 50 or so odd hours that I invested in trying to make a desperate long-shot almost succeeded.  If I had been able to reach the guy and walk him through everything - or if we simply went to 15 people who were station members and got their signatures legitimately - or if Westercon and ComicCon hadn't hit back to back just in time to torpedo my initial attempt to bring the local sf community on board - if in general I had heard about the LSB election just a couple weeks earlier, it all could have happened and we might have a real chance to make a real difference in throwing support behind rational discussion and procedures.  As it stands, the station has continued to lose support, in spite of some damned good programming, despite its obvious slant at times, and the loss has reflected the paralysis of bitter partisan contention in the station governance.  The left should thank us for creating a core of real dialogue in line with the heart of the Pacifica Mission - to bring people together to explore the roots of conflict...  O'well.  Live to fight another day.

Difficulties and more:

07/13/2015 4:25PM - Well, I finally received two copies of the response from National, presumably:

"Phil,

This is the official ruling in regards to the Listener-Sponsor Application of a candidate without being a member. 

I, Coohtunich "Cookie" Partansky, the Local Election Supervisor for KPFK do hereby state that no candidate may be elected to the Local Election Board without being a current active member. 

Please see the attachments where the packet explains that each candidate must be a current active member."

The attachments include "... candidates must be qualified voters..."  And, since that deadline elapsed on the 14th, anyone who became a station member since then cannot be a candidate.

So, that settles that.  I tried. 

07/13/2015 2PM - I have spoken with the Local Election Supervisor about 6 times now, starting early this week.  There was an issue as to whether someone could still get nominated, even if they missed the 14th midnight deadline for becoming a station member.  I don't know the technical details of mailing lists etc., having to do with the actual voting, but there does not appear to be a logistics problem here.  But of course the LE super, "cookie," had to escalate the issue to Pacifica National and assured me on Thursday and again on Friday, that that very night -  each night - the National Supervisor's response, which she said she had received, would be emailed to me.  Nothing has arrived other than another reminder about the nominating parties and the final nominating DL of the 26th:

Good Morning,

I hope that you heard over the airwaves that we are hosting additional signing parties due to the extension of the nomination deadline. Please forward this email to all the people you think would be interested! 

Official signing parties to allow candidates to fill there petition signatures: 

Saturday, July 18 from 1pm to 4pm
Monday, July 20, 6pm to 9 pm
Saturday, July 25 from 1pm to 4pm
and Sunday, July 26 3pm to 7:59pm (Last day of the deadline)

These will all be held in the first floor lobby area at the station. We will not be able to walk around the station UNDER ANY CONDITIONS due to other activities going on at the station. 

The ​station's ​address is 3729 Cahuenga Boulevard West, North Hollywood, CA 91604.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me.

-----
​​¡
​Hola
!

Espero que
​ya ​
has oído
​por la
radio que estamos organizando
​fiestas
 adicionales
​. 

​​
¡Por favor, envíe este mensaje a tod
​os
 que
​​
piensa estaría interesado! 

El período de nominación de candidatos se ha extendido hasta el domingo, 26 de julio a las 8:00 PM. Vamos a tener mas fiestas de signaturas aquí en la estación: 
Sábado el 18 de Julio, de la una hasta las cuatro pm
Lunes, 20 de julio,  de las 6 hasta las nueve pm
Sábado el 25 de Julio, de las de la una hasta las cuatro pm
y Domingo, 26 de julio, de las tres hasta las ocho de la noche
​El
 dirección de la estación es 3729 Cahuenga Boulevard
​O​
este, Hollywood Norte, CA 91604

Si usted tiene una pregunta, 
​mandame un email

Cookie
Coohtunich Partansky
Local Election Supervisor - KPFK
Pacifica Foundation
**Please note the election nomination period has been extended until Sunday 7/26​ at 8pm**
****  So, no communications yet.

NEWS!  07/13/2015  - THE DEADLINE FOR NOMINEES HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO THE 26TH! 

Now we have a real chance...  What we now need is for good people to either contribute at least $25 toward becoming a station member or volunteer.   I spoke with Katie at the KPFK switchboard (818) 985-2711 - dial "0" for operator and tell whoever answers that you want to pay or volunteer (to work some small number of hours answering the phone, etc.) to become a voting member. 

You MUST do this during working hours TOMORROW at the latest!  The extension of time to the 26th ONLY applies to people actually running as candidates.  If you call to volunteer, make SURE that you get a name and the assurance that you are officially recognized as a voting member - got it?  The actual time for doing the volunteer work will be something to be negotiated, but does not have to be tomorrow.

M E M O R A N D U M

 

TO: All Interested Parties
FROM: L. Joy Williams, National Election Supervisor
DATE: July 13, 2015
RE: Candidate Nomination Extension
 
Please be advised that the candidate nomination period has been extended to Sunday, July 26, 2015 at 8:00 PM local station time.

The decision to extend the candidate nomination period was made in coordination with the Local Election Supervisors at each station and the extension time frame is based on the deadlines for printing and mailing the election ballots.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
Why are we extending the candidate nomination period?
After conferring with the Local Election Supervisors it was determined to extend the candidate nomination deadline to allow for more candidates to participate in the process.

Will the voter date of record also be extended?
No. The voter date of record will remain midnight on Tuesday, July 14, 2015. Extending the voter date of record would also require changing the ballot mailing date and delay the election. This extension will reduce the campaign period but will NOT effect the remaining election dates.

I already submitted my candidate materials, how will this affect my candidacy?
If you have already submitted your materials the extension will allow you extra time to edit your candidate statement and gather more signatures to support your candidacy if needed.  To ensure fairness, all qualified candidates will be announced at the same time after the extension deadline.

When will we be notified of the official list of candidates?
The Local Election Supervisors (LES) will be validating the materials of each of the candidates and submitting a final list to the National Election Supervisor (NES). The NES will review, approve and make public a complete list of qualified candidates on Saturday, August 1, 2015. The list will be posted on the elections website and each LES will post a final list of candidates at each station.

When will the candidate statements be updated online?
Statements from prospective candidates will be posted on the elections website in the order in which they are received, however please keep in mind that as we approach deadlines there will be a large number of submissions which may increase the time frame in which they are posted.
At the candidate nomination deadline, all prospective candidate statements will be removed from public view and reviewed to validate the candidacy of the prospective candidate and review the statement for Fair Campaign Violations. Final candidate statements will be added to the elections website when the final list of candidates are made public on Saturday, August 1st, 2015.

When can I schedule the recording of my cart and when will the on-air forums begin?
The Local Election Supervisors will communicate the process and dates for recording candidate carts and on-air forums immediately after the qualified candidates have been made public.
 
This memo should be shared and is also posted on the Pacifica election website at http://elections.pacifica.org/wordpress/?p=911

NEWS!  07/11/2015

BTW, if you liked "TomorrowLand," and wondered how to be the solution, then this is one major way that you can meet the challenge posed in the film.  Get on the KPFK LSB and promote positive thinking and real solutions in station policy and programming.  That will be worth at least 10,000 trees planted or much of anything that you personally are likely to do to solve our planetary problems.  Even if you aren't elected, you will have a bully pulpit during the campaign at all the various meetups scheduled for meeting the candidates, plus your airtime 1-minute statement, plus various radio meetups where you take questions about how you would run the station, plus your online text message.  All for a little effort - much less than you put into your resume.  Save the planet?   Why not?

The following notice was sent me from KPFK this morning:

Good Morning,

I hope that you heard over the airwaves that we are hosting multiple signing parties before Tuesday's deadline. Due to the overwhelming response I am going to add an additional signing party on SUNDAY. Please forward this email to all the people you think would be interested!  

Official signing parties to allow candidates to fill there petition signatures: 
Saturday 7/11 from 9am to 11am
SUNDAY 7/12 from 2pm to 7pm (JUST ADDED) 
Tuesday 7/14 from 6pm to 9pm

These will all be held in the first floor conference room at the station. The ​station's ​address is 3729 Cahuenga Boulevard West, North Hollywood, CA 91604.

If you have any additional questions please feel free to contact me.

-----

Best Regards,

Cookie
Coohtunich Partansky
Local Election Supervisor - KPFK
Pacifica Foundation
http://elections.pacifica.org


**********************************************

If you're running or want to run for the LSB, then you have to sign up at their online site and then get 15 verified signatures of paid uo (or volunteering) listener sponsors nominating you.  All the details are online.  Go to the KPFK.org site and find them.  The above email relates how most people will be getting nominated - via nomination parties. 

Summary July 9th, 2015:  Email sent to Matthew Tepper, President of the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (lasfs):

"Thanks Matthew;

The deadline is the 14th of July - 5 days...
Here's the situation.  The LSB is the most powerful body at KPFK, along with the Interim Programming Council.  Both bodies are elected by the station subscribers, of which only apparently about 3,000 are expected to vote.  The voting is proportional and instant run off, so that if your favorite nominee falls below #24, then your second,third, etc. choice gets your vote. The last election was several years ago, because they couldn't muster the legally required minimum.   

So, instead of the 1/3 of 24 LSB members, the legal outcome was that this time they would reelect the entire LSB - all 24, regardless of how many subscribers actually vote.  If we sf fans could roust up a couple hundred contributors - minimum $25 - or you can volunteer to earn your membership by working at the station - and they can't turn you down(!) then we would have a good shot at getting a couple Board members at the most powerful transmitter on the West Coast. 

Anyway, a couple hundred people could be the swing margin between the various factions fighting to grab control.  If we could elect 2 Board members, we could probably bargain that into a return of something like Hour 25, and a decent amount of hard sciences programming in place of the questionable science that is often aired.  And, during the campaign period, we can make sure that our support goes to the  candidates that have a positive attitude towards sf and science.

Why is this important?  The kids are getting a doom and gloom forecast from the media - including KPFK's Luddite faction. WE could turn that around, with a positive message, and real science and tech.  Let's do it!

We need

A> A couple hundred people* to volunteer to work a few hours at the station or pay $25 before the 14th deadline - and
B> We need a couple volunteers to run for a Board seat.  (I cannot, due to personal circumstances.)

I nominate Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle for LSB at KPFK.  Whoever we nominate and elect needs to be at LSB meetings about twice per month.  There are a few minor hoops to jump through.**  Details are available at the station or KPFK.org, or reach me at philosborn2001@yahoo.com.

Thanks for your help.

*Even 20 people could make a difference, as the various candidates will be listening to whoever speaks up."
**Please keep in mind the deadlines.  The 14th deadline is absolute, but you will need to call the station (818) 985-5735 to get registered, make arrangements to volunteer, get 15 nominating signatures from other station subscribers, and fill out their forms on line.  I think that covers it.
3 Sentence Summary:
KPFK's upcoming Local Station Board elections are an absolutely unique opportunity for sf fans to gain a powerful voice in the media through running for one of 24 Board seats.  The deadlines all end on the 14th of July.  You can be a voter for free via volunteering!!
End July 9th entry...

Previous entries:

This is urgent.   The most powerful radio voice on the West Coast* - KPFK - is up for grabs.  It looks like someone tried to slide this past any notice, but we have until July 14th to field candidates for the station's Local Station Board and presumably the interim Program Council, as well.  This whole affair was clearly thrown together in a rush and then instigated at the last moment - after years of paralysis brought about by endless power wars between rival political factions.  www.kpfk.org *From Santa Barbara to San Diego - 50K Watts, three transmitters

Updated 07/03/2015:  Sent emails containing this msg to various members involved in governing LASFS, the Los Angele Science Fantasy Society.  Spoke with one of them yesterday.  He said that most of the members were at WesterCon.  So. No progress expected on that front until next week... Spoke - email - with one of the top ten sf writers about how to deal with this.  He is willing to put some effort into encouraging people to join the "Takeover," but it rests upon progress on this end before he will actually commit. 

A more general reaction that I've gotten - by sf fans and others who used to be active promoters of KPFK is "Why bother."  I.e., they are fed up and do not believe that real change is possible, that the National Board of Pacifica would quash it if by some miracle it did happen, that people - particularly youth - are not into broadcast media anyway.  Those are the major objections and those people are articulate and current.  Who will stand up and answer them?  What IS the future for broadcast?  (I predicted its demise several decades ago, but it still is going.) Let's see what I can do here...

Updated 07/04/2015:  <1> Contacted Michael (Max) Maxsenti (Rebellious Truths), whose focus has been on creating positive spaces where  people of different ideologies can first peacefully examine what values and beliefs they hold in common and then build on that to examine the roots of conflict and search for mutually agreeable solutions. http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2012/07/79836/ I requested that Max run for the LSB. <2> Contacted Roy Tuckman, of KPFK's premier late night show - "Something's Happening." 

Updated 07/05/2015:  ...Just to let you imagine my current state of mind and mental capability... See end tag for more details...  From last night... Finally I realized he was saying "FIRE!"

So, the next hour consisted of me frantically calling 911, my drunken neighbors standing there witnessing everything but refusing to get involved - even to the extent of bringing me a bucket for water, the police arriving as the fire - presumably from the huge firecracker - spread up the tree abutting directly on one of my 500 square foot storage units - the one with most of my current medical and financial records, of course... 

At last the firetruck arrived.  So, no major building damage and one dead tree and I spent the next three hours watching for problems and filling water bottles.  Sorry for the interruption of the LSB pitch...  Not doing so well on six hours of sleep following a hour of terror.  I wonder how the people in real war zone manage to stay sane.   Please don't expect much more out of me today, though.

But here goes: Why should we be concerned about a tiny local election to a non-profit radio station? 

First:

Because we are watching multiple existential crises unfold - global warming being just one, along with radical violent religious cults, the general breakdown, not just of civil society, but of the basic ground of knowledge and credibility, with resultant polarization and paralysis over such cults as 9/11 or climate change deniers.  Meanwhile, sociopaths of whatever stripe of convenience are gleefully setting people of good will against one another with whole universes of mutually supporting lies, and the only thing we have on our side as individuals is the respect for the truth. 


Second:

But that and a buck or two will buy you coffee, without Bastiat's concentration of interest for cutting through the BS.  And that is what KPFK, on its better days, has provided superlatively.  It's explicit mission statement describes the purpose of the station being to bring people together, to "examine the roots of conflict."

And when you have good will conjoined with real resources of support, then you can get things done, such as instigating the flood of U.S. media into Teheran during the hostage crisis, thereby making it impossible for the U.S. to bomb and possibly lead to a global military and political disaster for us.  One guy, Elliot Mintz, with the backing of the station, put his voice on the line to the students at the U.S. Embassy, pushed past the NSA blocks with the power of moral authority, and possibly stopped armageddon - and KPFK got the AP Spot News Award for California (and a reprimand from the State Dept).  That's just one incident of many I could relate to illustrate the importance of having this voice.

E.g., Hour 25, where virtually every sf author on the continent and a lot of top-ranked scientists, TV and movie stars and directors  as well were interviewed in a two-hour prime-time slot - for decades.  Until the factional turf fights forced them out - or such was the gist that I recall.  Hour 25 provided a strong connection between the culture of science fiction and the culture of Pacifica.  What's wrong that we aren't seeing and what's coming that might help us deal with it? 

More recently, with Digital Village, KPFK has had 20+ years of weekly one-hour coverage of cutting edge tech issues, particularly regarding legal issues and social implications, but including interviews with top-ranked sf authors such as Vernor Vinge or William Gibson, two of several interviewed by the Digital Village (.org).  Or, the major coverage by Digital Village of the premier Southern CA sf conference - LOSCON, or their coverage of the Make movement.

Third: The kids are not getting a very positive message about the future.  Are there any elementary or high schools explicitly offering courses on futurism and how to actually plan for a future that may be very different from today?  Or, are we teaching typing, as the schools were doing in the '80's while kids at home had word-processors and Power Point and HyperCard.  And, more fundamentally, the kids at home were writing programs - often making money off them (and a career) - history repeated with SmartPhone APPs.  Some of the schools seem to be finally waking up, with 3D printers and modeling software in kindergartens, but it still seems piecemeal.  What could KPFK be doing to raise awareness?


However, since the late '70's, the station has gone from crisis to crisis as one coalition after another has taken over or, failing that, blocked any progress and exacerbated conflict as tho the Pacifica Mission Statement didn't exist.  The station is supported almost entirely by listener contributions, and those have been dwindling drastically.  Who wants to support ethnic conflict?  Wanna fund some left-wing luddites? While such ideologues are not in the majority, they make up for it in their grim determination to silence the voices of reason and rational analysis of the roots of conflict - the Pacifica Mission.

But anybody can become a station member and vote for $25. What if - instead of a bunch of political radicals running the station into the ground with their endless vitriolic squabbles... we - the typical tech savvy gamers and science fiction fans and programmers and thinkers and writers who care about this world - decided to intervene and insert a handful of LSB members who represented OUR values - and a real commitment to truth and reason - into the mix? Not to force any beliefs down anyone's throat, but to open up the air for real discussion and for presenting a side that gets little coverage - our side. The physicists, programmers and engineers and all those supporters who put man on the moon and created the internet, while the political/social "scientists" let our planet go to hell in a handbasket.  We don't need to run things.  Most of us don't WANT to run things.  We just want things to work. WE want the Pacifica Mission for real.

Check out the KPFK website.  It's all real.  If you live in L.A. or nearby, consider running for the LSB yourself.  DO IT!

The cost - minimum $25 for a station membership; To be a candidate nominee for the Local Station Board, add jumping thru some hoops - getting 15 other members to sign off as nominees.  BTW, The way this is done is totally hokey.  I know, because I ran for the LSB twice - a decade past - and what you do is have nominating parties, typically at the station - N. Hollywood - consisting of prospective nominees nominating each other.  (I came within a handful of votes of getting a seat back then.)

What we are for is programs like "Digital Village, or the coverage of cutting edge science and sf - planting a seed for a REAL revolution, showing the kids that the future can be what they make it, not necessarily doom and disaster. And, instead of factional warfare to no good end, why not a systematic review of how we can actually use the station to bring the factions to the table?  To find the common ground that any real reconciliation is grounded upon.

And, for those who think broadcast is dead, imagine an integration of internet and broadcast, with information flowing through the filters of credibility from users and groups to the broadcast level.  Imagine affinity groups resourcing ideas coming from references like www.kurzweilai.net, showing the connections between different ideas, using tools like http://www.kurzweilai.net/a-computational-algorithm-for-fact-checking and - in the not-too-distant future, mind-melding using something similar to this: http://www.kurzweilai.net/first-glimpse-of-new-concepts-developing-in-the-brain.  "Stay tuned" may take on new meaning.

SOME POSITIVE NOTES (to be further organized):

Occupy exposed the problems with their list of grievances and their reclaiming of the Commons.  They showed us that when people have hope, they are capable of positive action.

Michael Maxsenti's Rebellious Truths showed that we could, as people of good will, regardless of our ideologies, in fact reasonably discuss the problems and the possible solutions - that Progressive Leftists could work with Tea Partiers.

Lief Christian of Occupy OC took what he saw at the later Rebellious Truths intensives and produced "The Outsider Manifesto," listing an amazing number of areas where we all agree. (Unfortunately, Lief's Manifesto has apparently gone down the memory hole, along with millions of other valuable documents.  You thought that the internet was forever, I'll bet.  Think again.  The inflow of new information now exceeds the storage available by two to one, meaning that a lot of older - especially incriminating or politically dangerous - files are getting scrubbed.)

Here's a thought: Why not run the LSB more like Occupy?  Robert's Rules are great for making sure that everyone gets to speak, but they can be abused as factions run meetings into the ground just to get their way.  Why couldn't we have periods of full and open discussion as well, on the Occupy model.  And, we used to make all our Occupy General Assemblies public, not just for people physically present, but via video networking to the world.  I'll bet that putting the LSB meetings live and archived on YouTube would drastically reduce the nonsense level.  We also used to have virtual presences via smartphone video.  Why limit discussion to those who are physically present?  Not everyone can be there... Are we for exclusion?

Supporting blogs:

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/430871/Occupy_Earth_Part_II

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/412425/Occupy_Earth

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/301081/On_Morals

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/24184/Progress_at_the_Interim_Programming_Council_of_KPFK

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/13849/How_I_Stopped_Two_Wars

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/6439/My_Picks_for_the_KPFK_Local_Station_Board

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/6437/KPFK_Local_Station_Board_Elections_2004_News_Update

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/5925/Todays_New_Evil

http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/4495/KPFKs_Future_The_Death_and_Resurection_of_Broadcast

 

Updated 07/05/2015:  ...Just to let you imagine my current state of mind and mental capability...  10PM. July 4th, arrived at my storage units to search for some memory sticks from LOSCON just in time to observe someone lighting a HUGE firecracker  and then dashing madly away around the corner. It went off in the confined space between the concrete walls, nearly deafening me as I parked my motorcycle.  Moments later, on the far side of my building as I was unlocking, a Hispanic man ran up to me, desperately repeating some Spanish word over and over.  I might have caught it, but I had stuffed wads of paper towel up my ears for fear of another deafening firecracker blast.  And in the background there was a nearly continuous banging and  booming - not little explosions, either; these were Disney class, thousands of them all over Santa Ana, like a real war zone - ten times worse than last year, with another layer of fire and also police sirens rounding out the mix. 

Finally I realized he was saying "FIRE!"

So, the next hour consisted of me frantically calling 911, my drunken neighbors standing there witnessing everything but refusing to get involved - even to the extent of bringing me a bucket for water, the police arriving as the fire - presumably from the huge firecracker - spread up the tree abutting directly on one of my 500 square foot storage units - the one with most of my current medical and financial records, of course. 

One pair of cops used an extinguisher, but it only momentarily stopped the flames as it appeared that someone had chosen to hide about 100 pounds of Harley looking motorcycle parts behind the big old wooden box where the fire first got going, and the hot steel kept reigniting everything.  I used up my one big extinguisher and it slowed the fire down.  I kept requesting the 8~12 cops that were now filling the parking lot for more efforts at at least knocking back the spread until the fire people arrived, but their only response was to order me to move further away or risk arrest.  

At last the firetruck arrived.  So, no major building damage and one dead tree and I spent the next three hours watching for problems and filling water bottles.  Sorry for the interruption of the LSB pitch...  Not doing so well on six hours of sleep following a hour of terror.  I wonder how the people in real war zones manage to stay sane.   Please don't expect much more out of me today, though.


Comments
on Jul 03, 2015

Do you not see the sad irony in this:

Why should we be concerned?  Because we are watching multiple existential crises unfold - global warming being just one, along with radical violent religious cults, the general breakdown, not just of civil society, but of the basic ground of knowledge and credibility, with resultant polarization and paralysis over such cults as 9/11 or climate change deniers.  Meanwhile, sociopaths of whatever stripe of convenience are gleefully setting people of good will against one another with whole universes of mutually supporting lies, and the only thing we have on our side as individuals is the respect for the truth.

given the mission statement?  Things here don't quite compute.

Just my opinion.  YMMV.

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