Budget to be signed?

85 days without a budget. The legislature passed one Friday night and the Governor is expected to sign it tomorrow. It is not a pretty budget, and most of the hard decisions have just been postponed. The economy is struggling; most would agree that we are in a recession. I have what is probably a “recession-proof” job. The worse the economy gets, the more crimes committed, and the more needed are my services. A sad commentary on our society, I am afraid.

The backlog in the comptroller’s office is tremendous, as one might expect, so it will be 2-3 weeks before I see my first paycheck. I haven’t seen a check in over 3 months, as of yesterday, but I have managed, due to planning, a lot of hard work in May and June in preparation for this expected disaster, and a lot of deferred purchases. I am one of the lucky ones. I have no mortgage and pay no rent. My Jeep was paid off last year. Most of my expenses are business-related.

We must “fix” the economic problems in this state. The California Prison Industry (and it is truly an industry) is the biggest drain on our budget. We house people for LIFE for stealing videos. We assume their housing and feeding, as well as their medical expenses, which as they get older, are significant. We are so over crowded, that we are sending our prisoners out-of-state. Thousands of prisoners are now housed in Oklahoma, Mississippi, and other states, which we pay for. Of course, we must pay for their first appeal of right, also. That’s my income, and others like me. One figure I heard is that during this budget impasse, the state incurred a debt of 6 million dollars for appellate attorneys, and there are just not that many of us. I will put together some statistics on what the prison industry is costing the taxpayers, in the hopes I can persuade some of you that the 3-strikes law was a VERY bad idea from its inception.

I am already planning for next June 30th.

My pack …

My dogs are going off, this morning. Hunters stalking around, is my guess. Last day of hunting season, and we haven’t been shot, yet.

My dogs have learned their jobs well. Gideon v. Wainwright, Gideon or Gid Kid, for short, is the leader and the papa. He is a border collie/australian shepard mix. With that combo, he is a herder. He will herd cars, bicycles, motorcycles, and people on foot. I got him from the pound, so he had to be neutered, only things went wrong. He went into cardiac and respiratory arrest. The vet saved him, and he saved his balls. It cost me a bundle, but he was worth it.


Look at those eyes. Can’t you just see how intelligent he is?

He needed a partner, so I found an ad for a Queensland Heeler mix puppy, and we set off to meet Dakota. She was a feisty one, and neither was too sure about the other. Dakota is all heeler, too, even though she is the only one in her litter that took on the characteristics of her unknown papa.
She has beautiful lines, long legs, and boy can she run!!

Isn’t she beautiful?

Then, as critters are prone to do, they mated. The first litter was a whopping TEN. Dakota only has nine teats, so it was a challenge raising all ten, but we did. I found homes for eight, and kept two, a male and a female. Now, I truly had a pack.


Sweet, sweet Bear, the male puppy.


Miranda v. Arizona (Miranda for short), the female puppy.

These dogs are all working dogs, and they take their jobs seriously. They can hear someone at the gate, 1/2 a mile away. They herd or heel any one who comes on the property. And do it well. To “heel” a vehicle, the heeler dogs (3) will bite at tires and grab onto mud flaps. My friend, Prospector, loves his new SUV, and hates when the dogs bite his mud flaps. He developed a technique that works quite well. He carries a bottle of hot sauce, and splashes it on his mud flaps. My ex has a yellow lab that is much bigger than my pack, and he runs around the truck, keeping my dogs away. JP hasn’t figured it out, yet, although I demonstrated that a squirt gun works well to keep them off his truck.

Up here, in the middle of the wilds of Big Sur, dogs are mandatory. Maybe not four, but with four, I have a good pack. They keep the deer away, the hunters away, and I have not seen a rattlesnake since I’ve had all four. They are a great team.

Tourons

Tourist plus moron equals Tourons.

Yup, one of those. He came through this morning — a Saturday — at 7:30 am, fer gawd’s sake. He squeezed past my Jeep, which I park in the middle of the road for occasions just like this, and kept going!!

I had to climb out of my nice warm bed, in my long-johns, and chase him down at my back gate. Which reminds me, now that the budget has passed, I need new silk long-johns. The seat is shot.

Anyway, I catch him by the back gate — a Jeep Patriot, dark gray, license number 6ELS776, outside his Jeep, fiddlin’ with my gate. I am hopping mad at this point and make him turn around and go back out the way he came. He says the front gate was open, so I follow him. He stops at the top of my one and only neighbor’s driveway. I pull up next to him. (I can’t get out of my Jeep, remember, due to the exposure of my back side.) I point him in the right direction. Apparently, he doesn’t believe me, as he pulls out his GPS. Idiot.

I follow him, and sure enough, the front gate is open. The lock is gone. I go through about one lock a month during the touron season. This one lasted only 2 weeks. Hunters. They like to f*** with me. Every time I put up No Tresspassing/No Hunting signs, they tear them down. Of course, the USFS has a sign at the bottom, saying “Locked Gate, 5 miles” but tourons cannot read.

I guess I got spoiled. My road was closed for 2 months due to the fire and its aftermath. It was so peaceful up here. I only had to chase off one touron during the whole time!

The only thing I can think of is to put up a solar-powered security camera at the gate. Even a fake one might help. Either that, or I can ask the USFS to open season on tourons. I could bag my quota in just a couple weeks!

Big Sur Multi Agency Advisory Council Agenda 9/26/08

It would REALLY be nice to see some other south coast members at this meeting, besides Harry Harris, who regularly attends these past few years. (Thanks, Harry!!)

Here is the agenda for the next meeting. NOTE: The primary focus of this meeting will be the upcoming winter preparations.

BIG SUR MULTI-AGENCY
ADVISORY COUNCIL

Congressman Sam Farr and Supervisor Dave Potter, Co-Chairs

FRIDAY, September 26, 2008 10:00 A.M.
Pfeiffer Big Sur Lodge Conference Center
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Big Sur

AGENDA

10:00 a.m. I. CALL TO ORDER Congressman Sam Farr

II. ROLL CALL AND INTRODUCTIONS

APPROVE MINUTES OF June 20, August 4 and August 12, 2008

10:15 IV. PUBLIC COMMENT ON NON-AGENDA ITEMS

10:25 V. OLD BUSINESS

1. Update on Maritime Chaparral Decision Dept. of Fish and Game
from Coastal Commission
2. Fire Response and Winter Preparation on Hwy One Caltrans staff
3. Final Transportation Management Plan for
Pitkins Curve / Rain Rocks Project Caltrans staff

NEW BUSINESS

1. Willow Springs Slope and Drainage Repair Project Update Caltrans staff

12:00 VII. STANDING COMMITTEE REPORT

12:20 VIII. REPORTS FROM MEMBER AGENCIES

(please bring written report)

Big Sur Resident Member
Big Sur Chamber of Commerce
Coast Property Owners’ Association
Monterey County Planning and Building Inspection
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District
California Coastal Commission
Caltrans
State Parks and Recreation
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
United States Forest Service
27th District, State Assembly
15th District, State Senate
United States Congress

1:00 p.m. IX. REPORTS FROM OTHER AGENCIES

1:30 X. NEXT MEETING ON
December 12, 2008

(10:00 a.m. Pfeiffer Conference Room, Big Sur Lodge)

1:35 XI. ADJOURNMENT

Clueless in Big Sur, and other business …

Hunting season will end on Sunday, thankfully. I had to chase six hunters off my property last Saturday. Sadly, they did not speak English, and thus could not read the signs. The locked gate they went around should have been a clue, however. Clueless in Big Sur … ah, the title of a song, book, or other?

Several meetings coming up, so check the announcement page, if interested. New Cal-Trans project starting next week, check the Cal-Trans page for information, and finally, keep your fingers, toes, and eyes crossed that this deadbeat state passes the elusive budget this afternoon. 81 days. A new record.

last lotus of summer…



last lotus of summer…, originally uploaded by Maggie’s World.

last lotus of summer…

moment
deep breath
fathomless light

Uploaded by Maggie’s World on 8 Sep 08, 3.00PM PDT.

This is from my flickr friend, Maggie, in China. Its beauty and simplicity just grabbed me, and I wanted to share it with others. I asked Maggie for permission to post this. She has some incredible photographs if you would like to view them, just click on Maggie’s World above. I am particularly enamored with her dunes series.

Local Winter Response Team & New Cal-Trans Project

New Cal-Trans project beginning next week (see Cal-Trans Page) and I repost this here, for those of you who may not have seen it:

Posted by Butch Kronlund
Dear Local Residents of Big Sur-

I’m not telling any of you something you don’t already know when I state two things :

1. The winter of 2008 / 2009 has the potential to be a once in a life time challenge of epic proportions .

2. If you thought martial law during the fire was no fun, imagine the mayhem of sneaking around slides and floods this winter with deputies from Salinas insisting you stay on your property or face arrest.

For those reasons alone, myself and a few others in the Community have been exploring the idea of creating a Community based response team that would be able to participate in the Incident Command System in the event of a declared Emergency.

The Meeting is scheduled for 6 PM, Thursday Sept. 18 TH @ Big Sur Lodge Conference Center. Robert Clyburn from County Emergency Services will outline the steps and training necessary to become certified and a sign up sheet for team members will be available.

In order to get this off the ground we will need to get organized and trained quickly. At the meeting we will go over how best to accomplish an aggressive team certification process and answer any questions regarding this organizations roles and responsibilities.

Feel free to invite other full time community members that share an interest in being part of the solution to this meeting.
Sincerely,
Butch Kronlund

California is a Deadbeat

I am only a small, independent contractor for the state of California, but while there is no budget, no contractors get paid, including those who provide necessary services under medi-cal to children, the elderly, and the disabled. Students cannot receive their student loans, and must drop out of college. Over 100,000 seasonal workers for the state have been laid off. The list of people and businesses effected by this troubling, juvenile taunting over whose budget plan is best is extensive. This equates to hundreds of thousands of people who are in no position to pay their bills or purchase the things they need. When the economy is frail to begin with, taking consumers out of the equation is bad for the economy.

In the meantime, the state legislators, and their staff continue to get paid, including per diem, while the state gets to use the money it should be paying us, to pay some of the rest of its bills, and does so without penalty or interest. We, on the other hand, have had to continue to work and provide services without payment for three months. And here, I thought involuntary servitude went out in 1864. What do I know?

California leads the way, once again. It is the ONLY state in the nation to be currently operating without a budget. Two of the most significant reasons for the debaucle are: the super majority required to pass a budget — 2/3 rds of the legislature (CA is only one of three states in the nation which require a super majority); and second, term limits. We now have an entire legislature made of of politicians with insufficient experience to know how to compromise and work together for the good of the state.

So, if California cannot pass a budget, and doesn’t pay its bills during the impasse, why can’t I? Could I tell MY creditors that I will pay them when I am paid, but without the interest, as I will get none? Could I use that money I would thus save by not paying my bills to buy dog food, paper & ink for my practice, and food? Of course, not. So why is California different?

California is definitely a “deadbeat” who does not pay its bills in a timely manner, while all the time taking care of its politicians. There is no accountability, and there are no repercussions. And our state legislators are not going to change, unless we demand it. This state is broken, folks, and is in sore need of fixing.

Mischievous

“Behaving or likely to behave in a naughty or troublesome way, but in fun and not meaning serious harm.”

I came home from a quick run to Cambria to FedEX some thing for work. There were two hunters out, one on an ATV, another on foot. I got mischievous. I started honking my horn. I told the second hunter, “Maybe this will scare away the deer.” When I retire, I am going out every dawn and dusk to honk my horn along the entire area of the ridge. Not hurting anyone, and maybe creating a deer-safe area from hunters. Mischievous, that’s me. 😉