Headed out for ‘stay-cation’

Vorderbrueggen at the helm of a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay

Vorderbrueggen at the helm of a sailboat in the San Francisco Bay

It has been a long election season and I’m headed out for stay-cation, one of those vacations where you stay home and do all the stuff you haven’t done in a year like clean the closets and clear off the home office desk and go to the gym more often.

I am also eagerly awaiting the imminent birth of our third grandchild. Our daughter-in-law delivered our second grandbaby on Nov. 24. Our daughter is expected to deliver her first child any minute now and she wants us present for the birth.

And there’s Christmas presents to buy and those Christmas cards to write, too. I’ll have more than enough to keep me busy.

We will most likely find reason to sail, too. A day on the water is always better than a day off the water.

Yes, it is hard to leave the political desk on the eve of a new presidency and all the politics swirling around the appointments and the inauguration.

But the boss has ordered me out of the building as I have accrued the maximum number of vacation hours allowed and as such, I am a financial liability on the corporate books. In these uncertain employment times, one tries to be as cooperative as possible, if you know what I mean.

So, I will go.

But I won’t be far and you might still see me posting to this blog if political events warrant an interruption in my efforts to locate the surface of my home office desk. If I’m on the  Bay, don’t count on it, though.


Big Inauguration-Day event planned for Oakland

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson is coordinating the planning for a big Inauguration Day bash, most likely at the Oracle Arena, so a large East Bay crowd can gather to watch Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States.

“We’re almost sure we’re going to have the contract for the arena that day,” Carson told me a few minutes ago, just hours after about 25 representatives from various faith congregations, community groups and local agencies had gathered for their first meeting to plan the event. “Everybody is saying, ‘What can I do to help?’”

They’re also planning a series of other community events in the 10 days leading up to the Jan. 20 inauguration, including an event Sunday, Jan. 11 at Oakland’s new Cathedral of Christ the Light near Lake Merritt, and another on Sunday, Jan. 18 at Beebe Memorial Cathedral on Telegraph Avenue. Other institutions have set tentative dates as well.

“We know that we are in the middle of… very volatile times in the community, and even with a new administration, it’s going to be difficult locally for us for years to come. This gives us an opportunity to find new friends, to recommit to communicating across those lines to see how we can leverage our resources and infrastructure to help people,” Carson said today. “Barack’s campaign on some level was kind of indicating we as a country need to do that.”

Tickets for Oracle Arena event – likely to start pretty darned early on Tuesday, Jan. 20, as the president is traditionally sworn in at noon, meaning 9 a.m. PST – might cost a nominal fee, if only to control their dissemination, Carson said; as many as 17,000 people might fit into the arena for such an event.

That’s all we know for now; I’ll provide more details as they become available.

Carson, like Rep. Barbara Lee and Assemblyman Sandre Swanson, is a protégé and former aide to Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums during Dellums’ Congressional tenure. Swanson and Dellums had endorsed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic presidential primary, while Lee and Carson backed Obama; all of them supported Obama in this month’s general election.


Black Friday street theater in SF

Iraq Veterans Against the War intends to “occupy” San Francisco’s bustling Union Square this Friday, staging an “Operation First Casualty” to demonstrate “the brutal and unjust consequences of occupying a foreign country,” according to a press release.

IVAW members will round up “brave civilian volunteers” and arrest them “in the same style used in Iraq,” the release continues; they’ll be transported to Moscone Center — taking simulated deadly fire along the way — for interrogation, and after that they’ll move to United Nations Plaza where Food Not Bombs will be serving lunch to the homeless to highlight the plight of thousands of homeless vets.

“Our aim is to show the American public the truth of the US occupation in Iraq, and the effects on returning soldiers,” IVAW spokesman Eddie Falcon says, as well as to urge the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces from Iraq; reparations for human and structural damage done to Iraq; a halt to “the corporate pillaging of Iraq;” and full benefits, adequate health care and other support for returning veterans.

The event is co-sponsored by Veterans for Peace, World Can’t Wait, the International Socialist Organization, Food Not Bombs, Courage to Resist and Students Against War – SF State.


East Bay reps seek quick action in Delta protection projects

Four East Bay members of Congress urged California Department of Water Resources Director Lester Snow to move quickly on several pilot projects that could help severely declining fish populations in the Delta.

Reps George Miller of Martinez, Jerry McNerney of Pleasanton, Ellen Tauscher of Alamo and Mike Thompson of St. Helena signed a letter today recommending swift action — by summer 2009 — on the two-gate fish protection demonstration project near Franks Tract and positive barrier fish screens at Clifton Court Forebay. The projects are included in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Strategic Growth Plan for the Delta.

“We recognize the experimental nature of the pilot projects but they appear to be innovative approaches to benefit the Delta ecosystem and improve water supply reliability for the 25 million Californians who rely on the Delta,” they wrote.

The four pledged to help expedite the federal permitting process and asked Snow to place the projects on the “fast track so we can see results this coming year when Delta operations, water supplies and fisheries will be critically impacted.”


Ex-Contra Costa manager takes Sacramento job

Former Contra Costa County manager Phil Batchelor givens new meaning to the word “retired.” He has been hired to run the trouble Sacramento library system, according to the Sacramento Bee.

Sacramento library board hires interim director

By Sam Stanton

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2008 | Page 2B

The Sacramento Public Library’s governing board formally hired an interim director Monday, a move that will cost $139,930 in salary for the next seven months, plus a few bridge tolls.

A contract for Phil Batchelor, an experienced hand at turning around troubled public entities, was approved without comment by the board to allow Batchelor to take over the library system from Director Anne Marie Gold.

Gold, who announced her retirement in September, was under scrutiny for her management style and an overbilling scandal that resulted in felony charges against two former library workers and the wife of one of them. She will officially leave the post on Dec. 1.

She praised Batchelor at Monday’s meeting, saying she had been briefing him on the library system. “It has just been absolutely great to have him on board,” Gold said.