A few things for which I’m thankful

I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving 2012, in both my personal and professional lives. I’ll forgo the personal here, but share a few blessings I’ve had on the job this year:

The “pinch-me” bizarre campaign moments: Newt Gingrich promising to establish a U.S. moon base; Clint Eastwood berating an empty chair; Joe Biden chilling with the bikers; anyone at all taking Donald Trump seriously, ever, even for a nanosecond.

The stranger-than-fiction stories I covered: a U.S. Senate primary that featured, among many others, a surfing rabbi, a “birther” queen and an octogenarian mountain climber; the first one-on-one with Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi after her shoplifting conviction; a maniacally misinformed wedding-chapel owner in Reno; and, just this week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors suffering the consequences for banning public nudity.

My continued employment: The news industry’s massive downsizing in recent years has pushed out many talented and valued colleagues and friends. I’m a very lucky man to still be doing what I love, and I’m thankful for it every day.

My bosses: Many thanks to editors Ken McLaughlin and Mike Frankel for all the work, from the fine-tuning to the big revamps, they’ve put into my stories this year; I’m a better reporter and writer for working with them.

Some people I’ve covered have endured an awful 2012 to varying degrees, from the Oikos University massacre’s victims and their loved ones to the Lockyer family. I hold them and others in my thoughts today, and wish them a happier, healthier, brighter year to come.


Swalwell to meet the masses on ‘Black Friday’

Last Thanksgiving, 15th Congressional District candidate Eric Swalwell made the rounds of the long Black Friday shopping lines, serving coffee to constituents while hearing their concerns and trying to win their votes.

As congressman-elect, having defeated Rep. Pete Stark in this month’s election, Swalwell intends to do it again this Thursday night and Friday morning. He intends to be at the Toys R Us at 6850 Amador Plaza Road in Dublin at around 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and sometime later on, at the Target at 2499 Whipple Road in Hayward.

“This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful the voters have put their faith in me to listen to them at home and work for them in Washington,” he said in a statement issued Tuesday. “Thursday night I’ll be back in the lines serving coffee, thanking voters and listening to their top priorities.”

“I promised to be accessible and accountable,” he added. “I learned last year that this is a great way to chat with constituents and I’m excited to be back in line.”


Mayor Bob ‘Turkey’ Taylor gets new feathers

Even turkeys need new feathers every few years. In this case, it is Brentwood Mayor Bob “Turkey” Taylor who donned new fowl duds for his annual charity drive for a local food pantry.

“”The tail feathers on the old one were shot up pretty good,” Taylor said.

And we most sincerely hope he is speaking figuratively.

The turkey tradition began a few years ago after Taylor put out a challenge to his elected peers: “If you donate money to my food pantry, I’ll wear a turkey suit!” He lost that bet and it has transformed into one of  Taylor’s most endearing mayoral duties.

Here’s a look at the old vs. the new feathers.


Brentwood Mayor Bob 'Turkey' Taylor in 2009


Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor thanks Jim Myers, of Discovery Bay, while dressed as a turkey at MJ's downtown Cafe on Nov. 7, 2011, in Brentwood, Calif. Taylor was asking for donations for the Brentwood Regional Community Chest. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Staff)



Schwarzenegger video of the week

This week, best wishes for a happy Thanksgiving from the guys at JibJab… unless you happen to be a turkey…

Looks like we’ve discovered something else Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sarah Palin have in common.

Previous SVOTWs: November 18, November 11, November 4, October 28, October 21, October 14, October 7, September 30, September 23, September 16, September 9, September 2, August 26, August 19, August 12, August 5, July 29, July 22, July 8, July 1, June 24, June 17, June 10, June 3, May 27, May 20, May 13, May 6, April 29, April 22, April 15, April 8, April 1, March 25, March 18, March 11, March 4, February 26, February 19, February 12, February 5, January 29, January 22, January 15, January 8, January 1, December 25, December 18, December 11, December 4, November 27, November 20, November 13, November 6, October 30, October 23, October 16, October 9, October 2, September 25, September 18, September 11, September 4, August 28, August 21, August 7, July 31, July 24, July 17, July 10, July 3, June 26, June 19, June 12, June 5, May 29, May 22, May 15,
May 8, May 1, April 24, April 17, April 10, April 3, March 27, March 20, March 13, March 6, February 27, February 20, February 13, February 6, January 30.