Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Gopher Named Blackwell

Gophers are active in my yard at the moment - possibly two, maybe three. The only sure count I have is the one that is NOT active any more...

But even that assessment is open to interpretation.



The new Sherlock Holmes movie was a kick to watch. The illusion surrounding Lord Blackwell's "death" fooled both Holmes and Watson for a while. So maybe this denizen of the underworld also staged his own demise, then came back to life? You see, after I took this trophy picture and left for a few hours, upon my return the gopher had disappeared!

Ah, what elementary factors may we deduce to be at work here? Hmmm, maybe the underground rat ate some narcoleptic roots and was just playing dead, despite the crushed midsection, and just crawled off after being sprung from the trap. Maybe this was a rare flying gopher and it flew away. Maybe one of the numerous "farm cats" my neighbors feed and house snatched up the delectible rodent and retreated elsewhere to enjoy his toothsome repast.

Regardless of the method by which Gopher Blackwell rescusitated or re-ambulated, the lesson is:

Never trust anything that looks like a gopher - dead or alive.

They Gave You WHAT For Christmas?!

Friday, December 25, 2009


The morning was peaceful at daybreak - and calm.
My dreams were a joy; they served as a balm
For the indignities suffered living next to the famous
TLC Catering, run by Andy and Amos.

My half-sleep was shattered at seven-fifteen
By banging and yakking and a gravel-voice sing.
The Grinch was up early this fine Christmas Day
And her mission was something that no one dares say.

Oh, what was that noise? My ears took the hit!
'Twas the loud strains of soft rock that accompany the shit
Served up from the roach coach they defensively guard
Within the bleak compound of their half-acre yard.

The serenades, football games, news breaks with smokes,
Station identifications, the advertising blokes -
It goes on all day and well into the night.
Just their way of saying, "Yep, we're here to spite!"



The speaker they mounted just over the fence
(By design that only to them makes some sense)
Is directed at my window, at the side of my home,
To broadcast their presence, their frothing, their foam.

The three rabid cookies, running this scam for years,
Do everything possible to assault all the ears
Within earshot - those of their most hated neighbor
Who dared challenge permit, and dog count, and trailer.

They continually scream, "Don't you look, but now HEAR me!
Ain't nothin' that you can do, 'cause we're in the cuntry!"
The control freaks next door demand homage or scraping,
"We're here, but we're not here," is the game that they're playing,

So with trucks, and with trailers, deliveries, and ice,
Stinking barrels of fry grease, they lie and aren't NICE.
They are troublesome parasites, sucking milk from the city
Whose breast is exhausted, just a saggy, dry tittie.

We live in a town, you see, ruled by committee,
Who's idea of action is to preen and look pretty.
Their powers of judgment offend in extreme
And to listen for moments makes one want to scream.

Their minions - no better - can spin many words
From brains that are smaller than ‘most any bird’s.
“Sue them on your own,” say the powers that be,
“’Cause we don’t know nuthin’. You get nuthin’ for free.”

So much for this Christmas. So much for Three Beaches –
Those big greasy trucks run by neighboring leeches.
This God-awful nuisance! When the lawsuit is over
Perhaps then some peace returns. Come Springtime; come Clover.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Came Early!

I could scarcely believe my eyes when I approached my driveway yesterday afternoon. The travel trailer parked in the side yard across the street was gone! It was then that I recalled the blue pickup parked in my next door neighbors' driveway when I departed four hours earlier. I swung my head in the other direction and... Jackpot! Damn, did I call that play, or what?






This is truly the best Christmas present I've received from my nasty, noisy neighbors in the three years I have had the misfortune of living next to them - and they delivered it on a silver platter, no less! There it is, a big travel trailer, backed nicely and neatly into a spot undoubtedly used a few years back (see the chart) by one of the caterers extraordinaire now-departed MFPU's {may they forever rest in peace.}

Now C, L, T can relive their glory days. If they squint, the travel trailer could look like a third MFPU lined up with the other two and, with Bonnie Jean Carson’s truck, they can reminisce about operating FOUR trucks from their property, from 1992 to 2003. Boy, howdy! They sure had everyone buffaloed - the city, the old neighbors – no one could touch them! Yes, those were the days… {sigh}

Until that bastard moved in next door… {* dream bubble pops! *}

Still, in order to celebrate the festive entry of the Trojan Horse trailer, they had Rosa the Chain-Smoking Riveter over, cranked up the yard radio to broadcast a Raiders game my direction, then retreated indoors to escape the rain and to Par-tay! (I’m sure their rationale is that if the radio is loud enough outside, they can then hear the game inside the building.)

Whoa, mister, - you say - have you gone golliwompus on us?! How can this be a good thing? Another piece of literal trailer trash wedged onto the property so as to hide from your view the illegal commissary, the grease dump, the trash truck, the collection of inoperative and abandoned vehicles leaking petrochemicals onto the ground, and the remaining operating catering truck? (Wherever do they have room for the other storage trailer, the walk-in freezer, Lynda's big-ass pickup truck, Theresa's SUV [or is that Teressa?], and Corky's sporty little car used for process server avoidance?)

OK, point given for that last nonitalisized part. The home-in-a-box would be much better parked in the same space now occupied by the icemaker because an empty trailer MAKES NO NOISE! But I fantasize too much...

Of course this is a good thing. A great thing. This is marvelous! Have you never trapped monkeys before? First, you put food that monkeys really like in a container with an opening just large enough for the monkey's hand to squeeze inside. When she grabs the food she cannot remove both the food and her hand from the container. Often, even a well-fed but greedy monkey will not release the food to avoid getting caught. Her hand is stuck in the cookie jar, so to speak. The same principle applies to other small-minded animals - some human. Eventually they have to let go.

Here's another analogy from the world of chess: Knight to B4. Check. Sacrifice a lawyer or a code enforcement officer. Knight to C2. Checkmate that femi-nazi queen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pigs Still Rampant! In Parlor... In Kitchen...

Once again, the pigs almost broke out of the parlor and into the kitchen ...

And, if you check out the story published by the Lexington Herald-Leader on Kentucky.com, also check out the retort by "PUBLICSAFETYFIRST" to comments made by "dennisd", the blog author. It appears that every locality, including Manteca, has that small but vitriolic core who attacks every reasoned suggestion regarding changes to police, fire and code enforcement procedures.

Although Mr. Duross' quote, following, is in a mocking fashion, it really is the hypothesis on which the "American Experiment" is based: Law-abiding citizens voluntarily comply with enacted law for the good of all.

".... we encourage you to follow our laws [and ordinances], and we commend you should you decide to do so - but we certainly don’t want to get hard-assed about it and insist that you comply with laws [and ordinances] that reflect our [community] values and protect our [law-abiding] citizens. That could be construed as impolite." [commentary is mine.]

It immediately brought to mind my scofflaw neighbors - the "takers" in society - who pay no heed to lawful restrictions and instead deem themselves masters of their tiny universe. If anyone mentions anything contrary to their delusional fantasy, they heap scorn, hostility, and retaliation upon them - forget mere impoliteness.

Enforcement is contrary to the experiment in freedom, yet necessary for certain people. Indeed, there are not enough police of any stripe to MAKE the experiment work - nor enough money to pay them. Even the ones Manteca has are either overworked (but not in my neighborhood), or clueless (more likely), or corrupted (definite, in one example.)

Mr. Doross of Lexington, Kentucky asks, "[W]hat about our current complaint-driven system?" Manteca claims to have such a system also. The choices are: 1) a pro-active system with attentive officers nipping problems in the bud; 2) a complaint-driven system where limited civil service attention gets directed to established problems; 3) a corrupt system, driven by money and influence instead of law, where "connections" buy "justice"; or 4) no system at all (anarchy). On that scale, I fear Manteca falls somewhere in #3. It has an irrational, barely functioning system, which I guess is what most small towns have. Gossamer, ephemeral and doing little harm, at best; at worst, corrupt, working great injustice and harm upon the populace.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Chilly Weekend

The weekend was so cold that it *snowed* in Manteca this morning.


The reason for the lack of heat is because it was sucked up by the local posse of hashslingers and their closest, dearest friends and business associates. (It's exactly like when the Dementors come and suck all the life and heat out of their victims in order to prolong their own interminable, miserable, and cold existences. See the "Harry Potter" series of novels* for more discussion on Dementors.**)

The celebration of hate started Friday night when a "troll" posted its comment on my last post. This particular troll joined Blogger in December 2009 (How coincidental... that's THIS month!) so it could leave its trail of slimy drool here. It never fails that sub-humans, such as this nicholacaywood, reveal their anonymous and meaningless lives in such a manner. Of course, his/her/its list of links to porn sites could not be allowed to remain.

It was so cold hereabouts that all the leaves fell off the trees. (C'mon, this IS California, after all.) I spent an hour yesterday, ahead of the rain and snowflakes, to clear my front yard of leaves and haul them off to the compost pile out in the back corner. It was a beautiful, peaceful day - so peaceful that I savored the thought and hope my noisy neighbors were not home - no ice machine, no outdoor radio, no commercial trucks, and none of their newfound parade of visitors. Yes, ma'am, downright peaceful...

...until my rake and I betook ourselves to the southwest corner of my lot to clear it of the leaves my neighbors' gigantic, untrimmed, fruitless mulberry tree so generously donates to me every year. (Hey, I don't fault the tree! It doesn't trim itself, you know.) Immediately upon applying rake to leaf, the hidden door to Thunder Cave wrenched open, the giant red push-button was pushed at 2:26 p.m., and the air for many metres around reverberated with what passes for music according to my neighbors' taste. (They must think I also should like their "taste" in music, when in reality they have no taste in music or anything else.)

They HATE peace and quiet. You see, they had screwed up badly because at 2:26 p.m. neither the ice machine nor the yard radio was on - and that damn neighbor of theirs was just over the fence raking his (their) his leaves. This cannot be! Their deliberately mapped out plan of noise retaliation MUST be adhered to. One appliance or the other - preferably both! - MUST be dumping their shit noise onto him and his property at all times... and the frigid weather was preventing the ice machine from performing. (Hmmm... frigid... non-performing...?) And who cares if they are INSIDE while the radio blares OUTSIDE?

The Dementor games continued later in the evening with a text message from a telephone number I had never seen before.

Sender: (no name) 19712080955
Subject: FW: (blank)
Received: December 06, 2009 at 6:26:46pm

Fwd : Your a dork who smells like poop at night. your a littli perspom.ng.th.fish.gh.gh.korei.deg.yogim'm'm'm.fell :) wro.g.sang :
--
(I must apologize because it was much cuter with all the little smilie faces that didn't make the translation to text only.)

Who knew that a landline in Salem, Oregon could sent text messages to my cell phone in Manteca, California? Besides, I don't know any poop-head little persons in Oregon, who don't know how to spell or string a simple message out coherently. But I think I know who does... and they and their insurance company lawyer demanded to know my telephone number, too.


So, these were small parts of my weekend - watching Dementors circle the drain, sucking life out of everything and leaving only frigid (non-performing?) air to precipitate the remaining atmospheric moisture.

- - - - - - -
* (or, the "Harry Potter" movies for those who can't read.)
** Who knew that J. K. Rawlings met the T.L.C. Caterers?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Final Countdown

As a follow on to the comment in the last post:

(paragraph from http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/ )
In 1986, the Swedish rock band Europe penned a song that would go down as one of the greatest in karaoke history, “The Final Countdown.” In truth, “The Final Countdown” has inspired thousands – nay, millions – to become amateur hair-metal superstars, belting out that most famous of lyrics, “It’s the final countdown/Duh nuh nuuuuuh nuh/ duh nuh nuh nuh nuh/ duh nuh nuuuuuh nuh/ duh nuh nuh nuh nuh.” It has become a timeless anthem that brings basketball crowds to their feet and brings back memories of hairspray and frayed leather vests to many a former groupie.

(lyrics from www.elyrics.net/ , sorry, no .mp3 file)

Group: Europe
Released: 1986
Songwriter: Joey Tempest

We're leaving together
But still it's farewell
And maybe we'll come back
To earth, who can tell?
I guess there is no one to blame
We're leaving ground
Will things ever be the same again?


It's the final countdown
The final countdown

Ohh
We're heading for Venus and still we stand tall
'Cause maybe they've seen us and welcome us all, yea
With so many light years to go and things to be found
(To be found)
I'm sure that we'll all miss her so

It's the final countdown
The final countdown
The final countdown
(The final countdown)
Ohh ho ohh


The final countdown, oh ho
It's the final countdown
The final countdown
The final countdown
(The final countdown)


Ohh
It's the final countdown
We're leaving together
The final countdown
We'll all miss her so
It's the final countdown
(The final countdown)


Ohh, it's the final countdown
Yea

© SCREEN GEMS-EMI MUSIC INC

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Travel Trailer Shim Sham Shimmy

Well, I must admit, Manteca's code enforcement response time is certainly improving. Someone was out a mere 25 hours after I hit the enter key on the City's Government-Reach-Out-And-Touch/Love/Cuddle-Your-Neighbor online reporting system. That response time is warp speed 9 quicker than my first tooth-and-nail attempts to get ANY feedback from the city in March and April of 2008 (I was Sooo naive then.) Even so, Animal Control has them beat at only one hour turnaround last September 8th (2009), after I delivered my complaint in person. (Of course, the Animal Control officer still managed to screw up that investigation...)

Anyway, the white pickup truck with "Manteca Police Department" stenciled on the door, and "Code Enforcement" stenciled under that, pulled up to the curb on the east side of the street and took pictures of the travel trailer parked across the street. He pulled up the street a few rods, and down the street a chain or two, probably to photograph the various perspectives and to write observation notes. All told, approximately ten to fifteen minutes were spent on this endeavor.




Here is the online report that prompted the visit:

Thank you for contacting the City of Manteca. We appreciate the opportunity to assist you and assure you a positive experience with us.

The Complaint you submitted was:
- - - - - - - - -
Request type: Boats, Trailers, RVs on Private Property

Description: Travel trailer at 785 Fishback Street is not in compliance with MMC 17.15.105 Parking and storage of mobile vehicles and accessories on pre July 19, 1978 parcels.

A Wilderness Advantage travel trailer by Fleetwood is parked in the home's side yard, open to view from the front (east) and unscreened on the side (south). In spite of it being there for over two years, no DMV licensing is displayed anywhere on it, only the dealer promo info. The trailer's pop-out extension has been deployed the entire time, the trailer is plugged into an outside electrical outlet, and there are indications someone is using it regularly or living in it.

The January 2009 ordinance's six-month enforcement "grace period" has long since expired.
- - - - - - - - -
Your request has been assigned to a [ed., an anonymous] city employee. You will receive a response within 5 days for this request. If it does take longer than this, please contact us by replying to this email.

The current expected due date is 12/10/09.


[Note: The 5-day response time means five "open for business" days. The tally has already included one every-other-Friday closure, three unpaid furlough days, two days for Thanksgiving, and four standard weekend days. So, add ten lost days to any 5+ days response.]

Yes, that RV has been parked there, unmoving, for a long, long time. And this complaint is regarding the property across the street from me - not the Neighbors From Hell (NsFH) property next door.

(Shhh... I'm not supposed to complain about them... Remember, I was quarantined by the Chief of Police from complaining to the City of Manteca about Lynda Allen and Theresa Brassey illegally operating their TLC Catering business, with the help of Corky Greene, from 810 Fishback Street, the residential property zoned R-1 since annexation where the three of them live, work, play, collect animals and other friends, jabber, eat, make ice, make love, make noise at all hours, take commercial deliveries, restock their illegal commissary building, build all sorts of unpermitted noncompliant structures, etc.)

The new ordinance regarding mobile accessory vehicles went into effect January of this year, so one might ask, "What about grandfathering?"

The answer is: "No grandfathering allowed." These are mobile vehicles and can be moved around while screening and parking surfaces can be retrofitted. If the vehicle is too big or the necessary improvements cannot or will not be made, then the arrangement is not permitted and the vehicle must be hauled off to an appropriate rental space somewhere else.

The BIG question on the readers' minds right now is, "Why is this guy picking on the poor unfortunates who live across the street?" The answer is, "I have (almost) nothing against the owners of the property across the street. I have never met them."

Yet this entire campaign is deadly serious and the traps are baited for more than one prey.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mealy-Mouthing in Lexington and Manteca

Dennis Duross holds the Lexington, KY, city council and administration in as high regard as I do the Manteca, CA, city council and administration. On his blog, Pigs in the Parlor, he reports on the November 24th Lexington planning commission meeting in which the item of rental licensing and housing code enforcement is briefly discussed and happily deep-sixed by a quorum (after taking a couple passes at the proper rules of order.)

Here is Lexington's administration's squirrely assessment of their code enforcement limitations. Note their craven excuses and the simpering, insouciant, quibbling that citizens aren't following the laws the council adopted for them. After avowing that pro-active enforcement is impossible, they proceed to impeach their own fall back "Plan B."

"Selective Enforcement:
Because our inspections are carried out by a limited number of inspectors and without charge, there’s no way for enforcement efforts to grow as problems grow."

"Voluntary Compliance:
... our safety [ed. or zoning] laws may as well not exist at all. In other words, our laws can be subverted by the very people that those laws intend to hold accountable..."

Duh! Does any of this sound familiar? These self-condemning words are almost verbatim those that have issued from spokesmouths and meetings in the City of Manteca. As the Lexington observer put it, "Who writes this crap in the first place? Do we or do we not have a Law Department in this city? Ditto Planning?"

A paraphrase befitting Manteca would read, "Do we, or do we not, have a competent City Attorney? Ditto a potent Director of Community Development with cease and desist powers for unpermitted land uses? And what of those *&&#077$ in code enforcement?!"

I believe, sadly, that incompetence and impotence inundate Manteca's police, code enforcement, community development, and legal departments.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Neighbors' Magic Rock

I WANT ONE!  I WANT ONE!
How come they get a magic rock?!  And I don't get a magic rock?!
I WANT A MAGIC ROCK!

This magic rock is letting my neighbors know when I'm thinking about them, or if I'm up to something nefarious.

You can see the truth of that from the date captions under each picture. When I am being good and behaving myself (ignoring their illegal operation), the magic rock points away from my house. But when I am being evil, or sending bad thoughts their way, or some such (like making a complaint), then the rock turns toward my house and BLARES 100.1 "Mega 100 Soft Rock" at me. (No wonder their business is failing, they probably play the same s**t on their roach coach.)



Oh, the horror of it all! Nasty, nasty rock, to rat me out! How did these glorious embodiments of T.L.C. get a hold on such an arcane specimen of occult magic?

I guess I should try to concentrate my mental energies and see if I can get it to spin all the way around... or to balance precariously on only one corner... perhaps do a little break dancing... or take a kamikaze swan dive off its perch. It'll be like the Mexican Jumping Beans I used to play with when I was much, much younger.

I WANT ONE, TOO!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Second Lap Around The Dog Track

What rankles me is the total disregard of the "rule of law" by those who are supposed to uphold the law. It is as if these city employees make up whatever they want as they go along. Hence my objection to Animal Control's inaction and my appeal to the chief law and code enforcement officer of the city.



City of Manteca

Dave Bricker, Chief of Police
1001 W Center Street
Manteca, CA 95336

November 18, 2009

Re: Animal Control – review of action

Dear Mr. Bricker,

I am confused… but I know you have - or can get - the answer to this question.

Here is the language of MMC 17.07.030 The keeping of animals. “In any district on a lot with a principal permitted use, no more than six small animals may be kept, provided none are kept for commercial use. Not more than three of such animals may be dogs or cats over ten weeks of age…” [emphasis added.] Please note the absence of any reference to multiple homes on a single lot.

Attached is Animal Control courtesy notice # MACS002668N, which I believe is not in compliance with the subsection cited above. See the notation "Two Houses on Property" and beneath that an apparent allocation of three dogs to one house and two dogs to the other. It appears that P. Miller in Animal Control interprets the subsection to allow five dogs on a single R-1 lot.

Please let me know whether the MMC subsection is correct (3 dogs allowed) or the Animal Control citation is correct (5 dogs allowed).

Sincerely yours,


I stated the case as simply as I could. Here's to hoping it is simple enough.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Deceitful Pattern Continues

Lynda Allen's myopic worldview is practically a religious expression subscribed to by Theresa Brassey and Corky Greene, and all the other hangers-on who drift through their tight orbit. The tenet goes something like this:

"I do what I want... and it's none of your damn business!"

This bedrock belief underlies every action they take. Even though they make their TLC Catering business my business, they refuse to mitigate any of this incessant noise from illegally operating their commissary and roach coach from their property:
They have turned their property into a compound to close off any view of their doings.
They quickly open and close the driveway gate only by pre-arrangement.
They have chased newspaper and TV reporters from their property.
They lie to code enforcement officers (who are only too happy to believe the lies.)
They lie to animal control officers (who are only too happy to believe the lies.)
They lie to the city council (who are only too happy to believe the lies.)
Their lies were well-received by the polymorphous city attorney.


Most recently, the defendants' brilliant counsel avoided (evaded?) giving up a material witness's whereabouts, and when a process server (an officer of the court) tried to find the witness, these legally-deficient women attempted to evade service by telling the officer to get off their property and not come back.

Hello?! Isn't being uncooperative during litigation a bad thing? A rational defendant would want a material witness to substantiate their defense, so they are either not rational or have no defense...

... or both {smilie}

Of course, judges deal continually with such putzes, so these indiscretions are not likely to provoke any sanctions. What are a few more rounds of game-playing after perfecting their technique for twenty-two years? These women have had much more than their share of "due process" - that term is more correctly called "undue process."

Oh, by the way, we got the witness served with a subpoena. {BIG smilie}

T, L, and C are now on the hook... carefully, we reel them in.

Newly Released! Neighbors From Hell (the book)

Neighbors From Hell is now available from CreateSpace! It is only $18.00 list price. CreateSpace is an Amazon company.

In this previous post I was anticipating the release of Bob Borzotta's new book. It's not that I need confirmation my neighbors are of this sort, only that they possess in common the antisocial characteristics of that social underclass that believes they are insulated and protected from people's reactions to their outrageous behaviors.

One copy I will personally autograph to Manteca's chief of police to be read by him, then made required reading by all officers in Code Enforcement and Animal Control departments. The only way for Manteca to be "The Family City" is to impress the minimal rules of civil behavior - known as the Manteca Municipal Code - on the small-minded residents who ignore them. Right now, the municipal codes are enforced so selectively, so sloppily - or not at all - that local bullies and anarchists terrorize blocks, cul-de-sacs, and neighborhoods. And the downtown clowns wonder how crime gets a foothold in our fair city?

Perhaps I'll autograph another copy of Neighbors From Hell to my neighbors from hell - the owners and enablers of TLC Catering - and make it required reading for them in the imminent court order.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Self-Education Continues

Here is my letter to the editor of the Manteca Bulletin just now:

Re: McKinley Expressway Workshop, 11/5/09.

The workshop last night at the library was attended by many dozens of homeowners and landowners who are faced with the prospect of having a 106-foot-wide ribbon of asphalt benefit, brush, bisect, or bury their homes and farms. These property owners reside south of Manteca’s city limits but still within Manteca’s General Plan “sphere of influence.” This planning sphere is where city officials determine where arterial roads are routed and determine where other major infrastructure, such as water delivery, sewer collection, and electrical service are placed.

The meeting was a primal example of self-governance. Say that again? Ok, this meeting was where “the rubber met the road” when it came to individual owners hearing and speaking the hard truth necessary to making personal decisions (the democratic principle of an active, participating voice) and city planners making the tough choices that impact the fewest current residents and benefit the greatest numbers of CURRENT and FUTURE residents (elected and employed representatives carrying out the will of the governed.)

The City’s Assistant Director of Public Works, Frederic Clark, masterfully – and compassionately – set out the goal of this first workshop, which was to give the residents a look at some POSSIBLE routes proposed by city staff and to solicit comments or alternative suggested routes. As Mr. Clark spoke for the first fifteen minutes, the groundswell of immediate emotional response was palpable; one could see, smell, touch, taste, and hear the instinctive surge of human reaction to a perceived threat to each person’s safety, security, rights, possessions, and relationships. Rapid fire questions were posed, first by this person, next by that couple, and fielded by Mr. Clark and Mr. Mark Meissner, the City’s Planning Manager.

Most impressive, however, was the polite, civil, self-restrained hour that followed. There were no rants, tantrums, or protests from this group of mostly older, stable, and mature landowners. These good folks surrounded the large maps on tables, and the superimposed lines were traced and sometimes redrawn. They just needed the earlier time to process the information they were given. The infrastructure planning horizon is of necessity a long one – 5, 10, 15 years out. No one was going to be evicted from their family home anytime soon, if at all. Rural lifestyle maintenance may require moving in the future. The new route just needed to be settled within the next few months in order to provide planning certainty if/when southward development occurs.

Owners with large acreage in crops, orchards and vineyards generally seemed to welcome the idea of a roadway and future development. After all, the accruing wealth would keep them comfortable in retirement - and their families beyond that. Most others on smaller parcels were justifiably concerned about the potential loss of their homes or their rural lifestyle. Some from both groups already accepted the idea of change; others from both groups were still struggling with it. Raw emotions were still evident.

Toward the end of the meeting, a neatly groomed woman of well-advanced age revealed her fear in her quiet, shyly asked question, “How much time will we be given to leave?” It was asked in a one-on-one situation. How can one answer such a question? Not with babble about “sphere of influence,” annexation, development agreements, negotiations within eminent domain actions, and other such high-falutin’ gibberish. This is your grandmother – and mine.

The meeting wound down and property owners departed, leaving city staff and a handful of others. These few, likely with development interests, have been party to this kind of process before. Their emotions were in check; their input more akin to the planners’, their practiced hands more sure with the markers on the maps - not good versus evil - just more experienced.

Is there a perfect one-to-one correspondence between an individual’s expressed desire and the group’s (government’s) eventual chosen outcome? Of course not. An awful lot of contentious name-calling and mud-slinging could be erased if the strident voices in our city (or any city) attended meetings like this and took life lessons from the true stalwarts of the community.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Faded Youth

I pedaled my bicycle to Westley, California, one bright, beautiful day and this particular logo on the side of an MFPU caught my attention. (Mobile Food Preparation Unit. Honest! that's what California calls them.)






(Credits: This logo/image is the property of Vaqueras, Inc.)

By now it should be abundantly clear that I am an afficionado of all things "catering" (except for eating any food sold from a catering truck... and icemakers... and commissaries... and outlaw owners.)

When I saw these vaqueras (cowgirls), my first thought was, "! ! ! ! ! ! !"

OK! ok. My second thought was, "* * * * * * * *"


All right, already!... My third thought was, "Why couldn't I live next door to caterers that looked like that?!"


My fourth thought? "Who knows? {shrug} Maybe they did once. {nah}"




Anyway, if you are in the neighborhood of Westley, las vaqueras are at the corner of Highway 33 and Howard Road, just a couple miles off Interstate 5. The MFPU appears to be parked there permanently, for some reason.





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Fast, Fun, Friendly Halloween Word Puzzle

Not usually one to decorate for Halloween, this little ensemble was too much to resist:

Monday, October 26, 2009

Manteca Animal Control Has Gone to the Dogs

The Manteca Municipal Code (MMC) must be too hard for the Manteca Police Department to understand, especially the two departments charged with enforcing its provisions. Leaving criminal and other state law to sworn police officers, Animal Control and Code Enforcement are to ensure that local, civil laws (the Municipal Code) are being observed.

Unless one knew differently, one must conclude that MMC 17.07.030 is worded, "Whatever the lawbreaker says, write down as gospel truth." See for yourself, below. On the citation written against Theresa Brassey, please take special note of the Remark: "Two houses on property" and immediately below that the accounting: "3 dogs - 2 dogs."




There are indeed TWO addresses on Assessors Parcel Number 222-11-003, but one of them (812 Fishback Street) is for the unregistered mobile home illegally remaining on the property from the early 1980's. This structure is used by the operators of TLC Catering as a commissary - taking deliveries of perishable dairy products directly from a Crystal Dairy truck and deliveries of perishable bread products directly from an Oroweat truck, and serves as storage for other supplies, as well. All this means that racks and refrigerated appliances occupy most or all of the floor space.
The mobile home is definitely NOT a residential home. No one lives in it. It is an illegal accessory structure used for an illegal, nonresidential use. But, in a most disingeneous argument, Theresa insisted to the Animal Control officer that the structure is a house that deserves a three-dog allocation (whispered after the officer departs: "to guard our business assets!")

A
previous post describes the visit of Animal Control with Brassey and her reaction to the front lawn "investigation." The resulting action was that three $5.00 dog tags had to be picked up for the three junk yard dogs.
The official Manteca Municipal Code, Section 17.07.030, reads this way:
The Keeping of Animals. In any district on a lot with a principal permitted use, no more than six small animals may be kept, provided none are kept for commercial use. Not more than three of such animals may be dogs or cats over ten weeks of age and not more than two may be pot belly pigs. [emphasis added.]

This whole sorry episode - this farce - illustrates the depths of conniving my neighbors go to and the inconceivable incompetence with which Manteca's code enforcement operates. Everything that goes on next door, aided and abetted by the City of Manteca, grows out of Allen's & Brassey's fundamental lie that this nonresidential use of property (TLC Catering and Commissary) was somehow magically legalized twenty-two years ago. Worse, Manteca's hired civil servants can't figure out their asses from their elbows, recognize the numerous ongoing code violations on the property, and perform the jobs they are paid public funds to do.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Brief Diagnostic (But Wishing It Was An Autopsy)

Hmmm, the ice machine out of commission for nine days? It must have been something serious.

1. Sometime in the spring of 2007, the machine ran 24/7 for some unknown reason. I was assured of a "fix" to alleviate that. (Hah! That was the beginning of my education - never to believe anything they say.)

2. Then in April 2008 the lies about a timer to limit machine operation started up: neighbors to code enforcement; ice machine repairman to code enforcement; neighbors to city council; and, still lying, neighbors to defense attorney. I do not believe the claimed timer exists.

3. I returned from a vacation in June 2008 to a week of silence. The silence was blissful. Unfortunately, the unknown (to me) system failure was repaired on Saturday, June 28th.

4. In July '09, a power supply problem caused a short and popped a circuit breaker. Fortunately, the legally constructed building the machine is located next to didn't burn down. (Unfortunately, the machine and the illegal clap-trap shed housing the machine also didn't burn down.) A power cord was replaced and food in a refrigerator on the blown circuit was thrown out. I'm guessing a new, separate circuit was installed for the ice machine - something not done at the beginning - which is explicitly required in the Scotsman service manual and in the National Electric Code that Manteca follows. The initial installer did not pull a Manteca electrical permit and performed a noncompliant job (real-speak meaning: substandard and shoddy), which imperiled everyone close to the machine.

Additionally, the service manual calls for an indoor installation, so why was it installed outdoors? Likely because of the tightwad, scofflaw owners and the same substandard and/or unlicensed contractor. (Perhaps AAA Emergency Refrigeration, the current servicer?)

I requested the icemaker installation information in discovery for the noise nuisance lawsuit (Demand for Production, set #1, item #27), but opposing counsel was unresponsive, citing what is supposed to be a precedent (that's another story.)

Here is the Plaintiff's Demand...

27. Copy of the records for purchase and installation of Scotsman ice machine.

... and the Defendants' Answer.

RESPONSE TO REQUEST NO. 27.:

Objection is made to this request on the grounds that it seeks information that invades defendants' right of privacy and is not relevant to any issue in this case or calculated to lead to discovery of admissible evidence. [Britt v. Superior Court (1978) 20Cal.3d.844; Article I, Section I, California Constitution.] Further objection is made to this request on the grounds that it is meant to harass defendants; therefore it is burdensome, oppressive and not relevant to any issue in this case.

The esteemed Mr. McFadden merely copied and pasted this answer to virtually every document demanded. I wonder how much he charged Farmer's Homeowner's policyholders for that brilliant legal defense? (Did you ever see the movie, Rainmaker, where the defendant insurance company denied every policyholder's first claim submission as a matter of corporate procedural policy?) He did, however, provide the Certified Reconstruction of the Homeowner's Insurance Policy (Demand for Production, set #1, item #10), which excludes coverage of business uses and certain other things. (So it does cover any illegal business uses?) I still haven't figured out what Farmer's Group Insurance planet this lawyer is from.

If there is anything in this universe that is relevant to the trial of a noise nuisance - with a key element being an improperly sited, indoor-rated Scotsman commercial icemaker operating outdoors, with the unpermitted and uninspected electrical, plumbing, and carpentry installation work performed by incompetent workers - {...inhale...} most certainly the items with the highest-order relevance would be the records of purchase and installation of the offending machine. (Duh.)

5. What caused the latest, nine-day outage?

Who knows? Who cares? Certainly not me. As far as I'm concerned, the more outages the better. The machine is probably older than Lynda. A permanent outage would be best...

.
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{waving raised hand wildly} Please, sir,... please,... let me do the autopsy! Pass me the cutting torch!

The Un-Dead Rise Once More

Peace succumbed once more. She was only nine days old.

born: Monday, October 12, 2009 (Columbus Day)
died violently: Wednesday, October 21, 2009





On Wednesday afternoon, the peace murderer, Bill Crystal of AAA Emergency Refrigeration (209) 988-2773, retrieved the dead Scotsman from Hell and breathed a new half-life into its brainless shell. The resuscitated god-machine found its mechanical voice, roaring to the world all evening and all night long, while the three harpies played loud music and performed their dancing incantations around it. The Devil's scene from the Burns' poem, Tam O'Shanter, below, comes to mind.



Peace vanished, exterminated by the Bacchanalian orgy.

At 12:30 a.m., one devout worshipper, with her charms and prancing presence, stimulated the metal monster to engorged capacity - to the brink of overflowing. A brief expectant pause ensued, with its storage organ fully distended, until...

Beginning at 3:00 a.m., another consort worshipfully bowed and scraped before the reverberating Giver of Ice, manipulating it twelve times within as many minutes to crashing, disgorging climaxes, and trundled away with twelve buckets of its petrified bodily fluids to be insinuated into the Mother of All Kitchens. A few more buckets of potent strippings were teased from the occult relic before the witching hour was up.

At 4:20, the third harpie, the high priestess, revved up her monstrous MFPU (a more appropriate acronym can never be invented); with fire in its belly and ice in its veins, she wheeled the unwieldy contraption, smelling of diesel and rancid grease, onto the street to "pee" for a couple minutes; then drove away in order to spread the drippings of the Scotsman's liquefying seed throughout the neighboring municipality.
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- - - - -
C.S. Lewis wrote in his foreword to Screwtape Proposes a Toast, "... I never wrote with less enjoyment... [T]hough it was easy to twist one's mind into the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long. The strain produced a sort of spiritual cramp. The world into which I had to project myself while I spoke through Screwtape [ed., or about TLC Catering] was all dust, grit, thirst and itch. Every trace of beauty, freshness and geniality had to be excluded. It almost smothered me before I was done."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Columbus Day 2009 Celebration

Yup! That's my new holiday of choice. Monday, October 12th marks the day when delicious, delectible silence was (re)discovered on my property.

The noisy natives next door - actually they are Bay Area fugitives - ceased operating their
commercial Scotsman icemaker on that day. Whether they did so voluntarily or involuntarily is still unknown. (Truthfully, I could not care less about the circumstances unless, like Dr. Seuss' Grinch, their hearts grew three sizes overnight.)


(Sorry for the poor likeness, Rufus.)

Regardless of the reason, the last seven nights have been completely free of the ON/OFF cycles of compressors and fan motors next to my bedroom. It took a couple of 3:00 a.m. Ice Bucket Brigades to exhaust the ice supply in the machine's storage bin, but that too has finally ceased.

Their "Plan B" for ice acquisition is going to have to suffice until this nuisance lawsuit comes to trial and the other aspects of their illegal land use has to cease.

The laws, ordinances, and paper trail they should have followed for the last two plus decades is unassailable. After twenty-two years of cavalier disregard for law and common courtesy, the end game plays have begun. The paper trail they left behind is sketchy, faded, and shredded; the stories they spun out of thin air are evaporating; their bullying and intimidating tactics are soon to be arrested.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Politics and Paperwork

Setting up a candidacy for local elections (or simply a political committee) is virtually the same process as setting up a small business. One must sign up a committee, set up a separate bank account and register with California's Secretary of State, who issues a Candidate Number to the registrant. Then a whole accounting system and reporting schedule - with forms, deadlines, amendments and penalties - must be adhered to with the Fair Political Practices Commission in Sacramento.


However, this administration and control barrier to entry is made somewhat easier to overcome with the assistance of an Elections Officer in each jurisdiction. That officer is the City Clerk in the City of Manteca. For two years I have heard nothing but good spoken of her abilities, and my own limited observations bear that out.

The process appears burdensome and likely serves to scare off multitudes of qualified individuals, who would otherwise decide to run for local elected offices. Yet, it is another necessary evil because money - sometimes BIG money - mostly other people's money - is almost always involved. Human history proves that where unaudited rivers of cash flow, people with character flaws are attracted and become tainted with the "filthiness of the lucre" (ref. 1 Samuel 8:1-3, et seq.).

Also, sometimes the system is "gamed" by those who abuse the FPPC late reporting options. They count on quick news cycles and very short public attention spans to gloss over their indiscretions, and thereby achieve their underhanded results. (A political committee called "Mantecans For Safer Streets" comes to mind as one such slap-dash entity flaunting the spirit of the law in the 2008 election cycle.)

This campaign experience could, after all, turn into a chance to practice real life forensic accounting and stir up a few hornets nests along the way. Election could turn into a chance to...

Ah, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Icemaker's Vacation; Ice Bin Steals The Show

Monday was just a beautiful day all around - despite the twin noise events of the 3:00 a.m. Ice Bucket Brigade and the 6:15 a.m. icemaker start up. The day's weather was fantastic, tropical. A big Pacific storm was rolling onshore that evening and the afternoon's cloud cover convinced me at lunchtime to put a plastic bucket over the security camera out back.

.

The best part of Monday's lunch was NO ICEMAKER.

The best part of Monday evening was NO ICEMAKER.

The best part of Monday night/Tuesday morning was NO ICEMAKER.

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The best part of Tuesday's lunch was NO ICEMAKER.

The best part of Tuesday evening was NO ICEMAKER.

The best part of Tuesday night/Wednesday morning was NO ICEMAKER.

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{May it be so ever. God be praised.}


There is one wrinkle, however. The icemaker and the roof-mounted condenser were merely giving the ICE BIN its moment in the spotlight.




Remember the property of ice called regelation? The ice from the weekend, still in the very large bin, tended to regelate or clump together in big chunks. Tuesday morning's Ice Bucket Brigade was bad enough - loud enough - with Corky fighting to chip the ice into pieces and get it into the plastic buckets.


But the monumental Ice Follies took place Wednesday morning! Like Vulcan wielding his smithy hammer on his anvil, this Ice Queen had her big metal scoop singing its CLANGING song as she hammered and chipped away at the diminishing chunk of increasingly (two-days) regelated ice in the bin. The power, the ferocity, rang out in every strike of cast aluminum on frozen water! But it was not monotone; the sound effects changed with the chosen striking surface of the scoop, and the meter of the song advanced and declined with each striking angle and each bucket filled. The performance easily stole away any opportunity for inattention - let alone drifting off to sleep. The artist played the instrument magnificently!


Together, this frigid goddess and her sheet steel ice god, rule the frozen wasteland to the south.



{Standing - wide awake - ovation}

Monday, October 12, 2009

Geat Fun With A Security Camera

For such twisted souls who have NO PROBLEM broadcasting their activities to the world via airwaves, they are decidedly spooked if there is any possibility someone might SEE them performing those activities.

In other words, the light waves have to stop at the fence, but their sound waves BEGIN at their fence and pollute their neighbor's property.

"LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME! BUT DON'T LOOK AT ME!"

Huh? You call attention to yourself so constantly - and in such an insufferable manner - yet everyone is supposed to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to your juvenile, bullying antics? (You gotta believe me, looking at them is dangerous... for several practical reasons.)

What was their response when I put up a security camera to watch my fenceline?






"MOMMY, MOMMY! HE'S LOOKING AT ME! WAAAHHHHH!"

(By the way, this picture is not from the security cam, but from a digital camera pointing the same direction.)

It just happens that the icemaker enclosure is in the side of the field of view. Nighttime lights in the enclosure will still show up.

The resulting barricade is a fantastic piece of construction! The ratty silver tarps are a marvel. The unpainted plywood matches perfectly the earlier construction surrounding the icemaker. Whereas the unpermitted enclosure was done by an unlicensed handyman, the plywood seen here just behind the first empty cardboard box was stylishly nailed up by the femme fatales themselves. The cardboard boxes and other assorted jetsam add just the right amount of flair to the ensemble. It is worthy of every accolade heaped upon it!

Such a display of talent! Long live Redneck Trailer Trash Noveau Architecture !! And it took them only four days, from Tuesday afternoon to Saturday evening, to plan this intricate fabrication.

I wait with bated breath to see what their fevered minds conceive next.

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p.s. - my bathtub holds quite a bit of water. ;-)

Yard Radio Follow Up

Walkers circle this high school block constantly, day and night. When the mood strikes, I will occasionally make the circuit.

Out for a stroll the other night and heading for home around 8:00 p.m., I came to my neighbors' driveway and was there arrested by the most odd anomaly in the evening soundscape - their yard radio was NOT playing from or into the center of their (illegal) business yard. Instead, the only sound waves generated by their single-speaker outdoor system were confined to the uninhabited corner of their lot just across the fence from my house, as detailed in this earlier post.

Ah, silly me, to earlier think that they had added the speaker to their system just for my benefit.

The reality is that they moved their ONLY speaker as close as possible to my house - just for my benefit.

These women (and I use the term reluctantly) are hell-bent to ensure that a CONSTANT stream of their noise pours across the fence. During the infrequent stretches when the icemaker is not thrumming along, they fill the noise vacuum (aka, silence) with the vacuous auditories of light rock.

Because the icemaker is an unreliable indicator of their presence, I just listen for the radio...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Don't Fight City Hall... Become City Hall

The lackadasical, slap-dash arbitrariness that is the hallmark of the City of Manteca comes about, no doubt, from the behind-the-scenes political chicanery in this town. Politicians selling themselves and/or their votes to the so-called "influencial" causes disjointed policies, supercilious law-making, and uneven enforcement of the laws they themselves adopted.
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In a press release over the weekend, I compared the City of Manteca to the computer game, SimCity, where "the player as Mayor" runs his/her city in any old arbitrary manner as he/she deems fit. Sadly, that particular analogy didn't make it into yesterday's Manteca Bulletin announcement of my intention to run for Manteca City Council in the November 2010 election.


http://www.mantecabulletin.com/news/article/7656/

My personal task for the four-year term is to avoid the pits, traps, bombs, and flaming arrows of power brokers and entrenched special interests, both outside and inside city covernment. My altruistic task is to help the innumerable common citizens retake control of their city from the "the Mayor as player," other purchased politicians, and their SimCity supporters who wield the money and influence to their own enrichment at public expense.

A little enforcement of current zoning laws would be nice, too.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

*Beep* *Beep* *Beep*

The usual cliche is, "They must lay awake at night dreaming up new ways to irritate...", but that's not the case here. My Trinity From Hell *initates* its assaults as the day wanes so I can lay awake all night. Here is their latest:

I am awakened on Sunday night at 11:30 p.m. to a *beep* (2 secs) *beep* (2 secs) *beep* . . .

It is a sound familiar to everyone with a microwave oven, except these are not the closely spaced beep, beep, beep's. No, this audible warning seemed to be more that of an electonic gadget that has run out of storage media or was emitting its low-battery tone. Either way, it appeared to be coming from the neighbors' back porch, so I got up and placed a sound recorder to capture its duration.

The Monday morning recording picked up Theresa's 12:30 a.m. entrance onto the floodlit outdoor staging area, her multiple midnight meanderings around the gravel-covered yard to gather foodstuffs from various compressor-cooled appliances, and the metallic tap, tap, tap of her spatula on the catering truck's grill as she fried up some egg-sausage concoction to stuff into breakfast burritos.

The *beep* (2 secs) *beep* (2 secs) *beep* continued, even though Tight-Lipped Theresa traveled through the back porch several times over a couple hours.

Finally, at 2:00 a.m. Monday morning, . . . *beep (2 secs) *beep* (door banging) *beep* (2 secs) *bee/ (silence) . . .

Of course, the recorder continued and picked up the predawn Ice Bucket Brigade by Corky from 3:00 to 4:00 a.m., and the grand departure of the rumbling Monster Kitchen captained by the Alpha herself. Because this was a Monday morning, it also recorded the diesel truck deliveries by Crystal Dairy and Oroweat to TLCC's illegal commissary. Corky's 6:15 a.m. commute is also on it.

- - - - - - -

Most people hearing noise define it as "unwanted" sound. On the flip side, those creating the noise claim it is music (or money) to their ears. Everything is terribly subjective and the endless argument ensues with each side claiming superior interest.

Those who run the Noise Pollution Clearinghouse (NPC) wrestled with that problem for years before going back to the earlier definition of noise as sound that was out-of-place or inharmonious (see the article, The Nature of Noise, found on page 4 of The Quiet Zone, Fall 2006, a newsletter published by the NPC.) Icemakers grinding away, plastic pails and bumping wheelbarrows, yard radios, and electronic thingies beeping are certainly out-of-place at night; certainly out-of-place next to your neighbors window; completely out of harmony with the quiet that should prevail in a residential neighborhood. In other words, precisely the reason zoning laws came about in the early 1900's and the reason Manteca has such an ordinance today.

But for some reason the simian officers of the City of Manteca stand by - blind, deaf, dumb, and stupid.

- - - - - - -

An intriguing follow-on to the *beeps* from Monday morning occurred twenty-four hours later on Tuesday morning. Well after T, L, and C doused their house lights and retired, their back porch light came on briefly, indicating someone was up and about. Three hours later, at Theresa's 12:00 midnight cue, the house lights came on. Five minutes later, a large passenger truck (Bronco, Suburban, or somesuch) backed out of the driveway at 810 Fishback and swept its headlights across my house windows as the driver turned northward and drove away.

So what? you ask. In this cat-and-mouse game, they try to keep me guessing, too, so here are my two speculations:

A. One - or more - of the Mobile Meal Mavens had a lover for the evening, but he had to leave when cooking duties called... or he couldn't perform when the lights went on. (After all, we're only brain-storming here...)

B. The Ice Queens had a friend babysit their precious Icemaker Baby for a few hours of darkness while they slept. The changing of the guard took place at midnight upon one fair maiden's arousal. (Really makes you wonder what kind of Frog Prince - or Princess - would accept such a kiss!)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Something Fishy, Smelling Stinky...

A while back I was informed that my neighbors' homeowner's insurance (Farmers Insurance Group) is paying for an attorney to defend them against my noise nuisance suit. (Never mind that I allege unlawful nonresidential, or business, use of property. Who knew that home-based businesses are covered under residential policies?)

I was also informed that California law prevents insurance companies from furnishing legal representation to policyholders directly and must, therefore, pay a third-party attorney to do the work. Here is what I discovered about John A. McFadden, Esq. - State Bar No. 173588, attorney for the defendants. Look carefully and tell me...

Why does this supposedly "independent attorney" list on his entry with the California State Bar an email address at FarmersInsurance.com?

Further, he works for the law offices of Field & Sanders in Rancho Cordova, CA, undoubtedly a respected and respectable firm, headed up by Douglas L. Field, Esq. - State Bar No. 56990. Alas, Mr. Field has no email address on file with the State Bar. However, this esteemed gentleman has a long and impressive resume on file with the San Joaquin County Court. Again, look closely and tell me...

How is "independence" maintained when the owner/managing partner of the law firm assigns an associate to this case, while himself occupies the position of Staff Counsel of Farmers Group of Companies since June 1997 according to his resume?

I know... I know... they'll tell me that because they are not "employees" of (any of) the Farmers Group of Companies, it is, therefore, not illegal to thusly represent Allen's & Brassey's illegal nonresidential (business) use of their property. (I'm pretty sure that's lawyer-speak for, Screw you.)

Mr. Field and Mr. McFadden may not be "employees" of Farmers Group, but be assured that their homes, boats, cars, childrens' college funds, and wives' clothes and jewelry will be purchased by all those policyholders who contribute premiums to one of the myriad corporations under the Farmers Group umbrella. The legal services these "interdependent esquires" render to Farmers is a balancing act between maximum billings to their firm and minimum impact to shareholders' stock value. Nobody wants to foul that honeypot spot called Staff Counsel.

One can no longer expect to receive impartial rulings from Blind Justice under the Rule of Law. In our system of Justice-for-Sale, individuals need to watch the rear view mirror to avoid being steam-rollered by Great Wads of Cash.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Great "White Noise" Cover-Up

I'm sure you have seen those speakers that look (almost) like rocks. They are marketed as outdoor sound system components. If you haven't seen them, here's one:



This particular speaker appeared in my neighbor's yard around three months ago, in June. Particularly note the direction it is pointed - for reasons that are deduced in this post. It was moved to a more permanent location on the side of the outbuilding, as seen in this September picture. Note that it is installed at the height of the top of the window.





Perhaps a half-acre lot is big enough to warrant an outdoor sound system, especially since the occupants spend massive amounts of time in their business yard messing around with the catering truck, the food inventories in various locations, the trash and waste dumps and, of course, the ice machine.
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The questions begging for answers are: Why was THIS speaker patched into the outdoor radio system? and, Who is the intended audience for the "Mega 100.1" elevator music claptrap that plays every afternoon, into the evening, and all weekend?
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Take a look at the physical layout sketch in this post and the recent pictures below. Immediately in front of the speaker is the graveled northwest corner of the lot, which is shaded by an enormous fruitless mulberry tree and is used only for storage.










The barbeque is pulled around the corner of the porch before each use. During the summer days, while they are gone, this shaded area also hosts a wading pool filled with water for their pack of dogs to drink from. (These practioners of sanitation used to just leave buckets of ice and water in front of the ice machine for their dogs, but then they put up the plywood box, which acts as a barrier for dogs but not for noise.)



Farther back behind the tree is more storage - bricks, boards, ladders, etc.







The residents simply do not spend much time in this corner of their yard. Out in the middle of the yard is a tented gazebo, where they do hang out and yard radio speakers would be expected.
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Reasonable people with an outdoor sound system use self-restraint in order not to disturb others beyond their property boundaries. Reasonable people with a shred of human sensitivity realize that pointing a speaker at a fence, or installing it at a height sufficient for its output to clear the fence, is immature, selfish, mean-spirited and unbelieveably unneighborly. However, my previous sad experiences with these neighbors inured me to any shock at this latest action. If they believe that another layer of noise is the way to cover up all their other noise, they are again mistaken.
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The ONLY conclusion that can be drawn from these observations is that my neighbors are deliberately pouring MORE of their noise across the fence and onto my property. Remember, the speaker appeared in June. The whole scheme is directed at me in retaliation for filing the noise nuisance lawsuit against them, served on them May 25th (Memorial Day).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Properties of Ice

Ice is a fascinating substance - when it's not being manufactured at night next to one's bedroom window. Here are some online articles of interest regarding its unique properties:

General -

http://environmental-organizations.suite101.com/article.cfm/ices_protective_properties

http://physics.suite101.com/article.cfm/physics_of_water_and_ice

http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/ice/ice.htm


Snowballs -

http://chestofbooks.com/crafts/popular-mechanics/The-Boy-Mechanic-700-Things-for-Boys-to-Do/Peculiar-Properties-Of-Ice.html


Glacial processes -

http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/10ae.html


Here are some ice properties one doesn't hear about every day:

Ablation - Surface removal of ice or snow from a glacier or snowfield by melting, sublimation, and/or calving.

Sublimation - Where ice changes into water vapor without first becoming liquid. This process requires approximately 680 calories of heat energy for each gram of water converted.

Regelation - Where ice melts under pressure and then refreezes once the pressure has passed. Look for it in http://skua.gps.caltech.edu/hermann/ice.htm
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All this gives new layers of meaning to phrases such as:
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My NsFH regelated after each enforcement inquiry;
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The City of Manteca ablated a long time ago;
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The judicial process is glacial; and
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Don't consume any ice from TLC Catering.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What Is Two Times Zero?

A friend sent me a local newspaper story on adding another code enforcement officer to the city's workforce. (I'll leave the other discussion about general fund deficits and worker layoffs for later treatment.) The position is to be paid from Redevelopment Agency funds and the officer is to be proactive regarding blights in neighborhoods caused by failure to follow city ordinances.

Here is my nomination for his/her very first case: The owners of 810 Fishback Street are operating a catering truck and a commissary from their property, but they do not have the necessary zoning permit for a home occupation and do not meet the requirements to obtain one.

How long do I have to wait until this officer learns what the codes are, how to document the violations, and how to apply the enforcement sanctions? The ability to do background research is sorely lacking in current personnel, and we are to believe current personnel can train someone new?

Actually, the biggest question I have: How this officer is going to learn the city's procedures at all? It appears the City of Manteca does not have any procedures for code enforcement, judging from this email response.

- - - - -
Sent: Thu 1/15/2009 3:34 PM
From: Tilton, Joann [jtilton@ci.manteca.ca.us]
To: Richard Behling
Subject: Request for code enforcement policies and procedures

On January 6, 2009 you request copy's of Manteca's code enforcement policies and procedures, via email.

My research of my records and via the Police Chief shows we do not have the documents (policies and procedures) being requested.

I provided the Police Chief with the 2006-07 Grand Jury report you emailed to me and he is not familiar, nor could he find the information mentioned on page 51 of this report.

Thank you for your patience while awaiting a response.

Joann Tilton, MMC
Manteca City Clerk

- - - - -

The San Joaquin County Grand Jury reported that they reviewed code enforcement policies and procedures from cities around the county, including Manteca. But, as one can see, when those policies and procedures were requested, the Manteca Police Chief doesn't know what I'm asking for.

Time will tell if code enforcement in this city gets any better or remains just another way to keep payroll money flowing to the well-connected.

This whole thing seems to be one more example of city puffery. It follows very closely on the heels of last year's "plan" to delete a vacant sworn officer position and hire and train two CSO's (Community Service Officers), cross-training them to answer code enforcement complaints as well.