Schumer: Senate will act on marijuana legalization with or without Biden

By Natalie Fertig : politico – excerpt

The majority leader shared his plans for cannabis legislation with POLITICO in an exclusive interview.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer really likes to talk about weed.

Schumer has been making waves on cannabis policy since he first introduced a bill to legalize marijuana in April 2018. It was part of his pitch for voting Democrat in the 2020 election, and now — with the majority in hand — he is putting together new federal marijuana reform legislation with Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)…(more)

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Moms of Magnolia Street

By NBC Bay Area

A group of working homeless mothers calling themselves Moms 4 Housing illegally occupy a vacant, corporate-owned home in West Oakland. The moms say it’s time to start a movement fighting back against rising homelessness, inequality, and corporate housing speculation in Oakland. With the aid of activists and community members, the moms make the first move in what would become a two-month struggle against a large Southern California home-flipping corporation.

Watch the next episode here:​ Watch all episodes here:

Moms4houisng showed us how it is done. Not only did they occupy the house, they showed up a few days earlier to stop a bad bill from passing. I know, because I was there, taping the press conference that went very badly for the authors of the bill, who were shouted off the front steps of Oakland City Hall. See video below.


Moms4housing joined a number of other groups opposing SB50 at Senator Scott Wiener’s press conference, where he was joined by Mayor Libby Schaaf and Senator Nanacy Skinner. I believe comments in this tape were in reaction to Senator Skinner’s lame remarks that failed to address the immediate need homeless people have for housing.

For some reason, politicians are not equipped to deal with current conditions. They have rules that require studies and analysis before any work can be done. The first hires on any project as for consultants to advise them on what to do. For some reason they do not respect the public’s “free opinions” on what they need and want.

The crowd was having none of it. They politicians were shouted off the stage. Since this public announcement was such a disaster, the poliiticians have avoided a repeat performance. Instead of announicng the new bills in pubic, they twist arms in Sacramento to get the bills passed with as little public notice or discussio as possbile.

The COVID Class War Heats Up

by Michael Lind : tabletmag – excerpt

It isn’t only about the virus, and will continue even after the lockdowns are lifted

The bitter debate over lockdowns and mask mandates in America is not just another polarizing culture war between left and right. It also has elements of a class war. But it’s not the class war you might think it is.

Some on the populist right and anti-capitalist left interpret the prolonged state lockdowns as a conspiracy by big business against small business. It is easy to see how people could reach this conclusion. Many small firms have been destroyed during the pandemic by government-mandated bans and social distancing rules, while some bigger firms have had an easier time. According to, between mid-March 2020 and February 2021, the wealth of U.S. billionaires grew by $1.3 trillion. But the wealth gains for the rich have come mostly from their disproportionate representation in the stock market, not from their ability to steal customers from small companies that have gone under…

The COVID class war is an intra-elite power struggle between progressive professionals and conservative small-business owners—a clash between the book people and the boat people...(more)

Obviously this is an opinion piece, but, one interesting way of looking at the psychology behind the more independent thinkers that tend to become entrepreneurs instead of employees. This is a simplistic approach, but, there is some merit in the concept.

Sunken Treasure Underwater Timber Stands the Test of Time

by Danielle Castle : customemade.– excerpt

Underwater Timber Stands the Test of Time.

When people think of timber harvest, Paul Bunyon in SCUBA gear is not the first image that comes to mind. However, in recent years, some companies have turned their attention toward the bounty of underwater timber that’s been hidden from sight for centuries. These logs may be described as river or lake reclaimed, deadheads, or sinkers. Boards created from sinker logs have gained desirability on the market because of the attractive color variation, durability, and perceived sustainable benefits.

How Do Trees Get Underwater?

Trees become submerged by slipping from a logger’s grasp or by growing in a valley previously dammed for reservoir construction. The scene under many artificial lakes resembles a watery ghost forest, composed of drowned trees that once stood tall along flowing creek sides or riverbanks. As sinkers are pulled to the surface, so is the history of the logging industry. Some of these trees were a part of virgin forestlands, where they stood for hundreds or even thousands of years, growing to enormous girth and density. Very few of these old growth trees remain legally accessible for harvest today, which makes the sinker logs that much more desirable…(more)

One of our readers told me about this beautiful and environmentally friendly source of lumber. I did a little digging and found that sunken, sinker, resurrected, reclaimed, or recaptured, river wood goes by a lot of names, is found in a lot of places and has some interesting stories to tell.

San Francisco’s Self-Proclaimed Emperor of the United States

via email : byuradio – excerpt (includes audio)

The famous feathered hat

Self-proclaimed Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, Emperor Joshua Norton championed minority rights, set forth the original vision of what we now know as the Bay Bridge, and printed his own scrip. The Emperor Norton Trust is dedicated to preserving the legacy of this beloved character from San Francisco’s history and trying to get his name on the bridge he championed.
Guest: John Lumea, founder of The Emperor Norton Trust

A few people have taken off on the story. One of them has created a modern version of Norton Dollars.

Why more Americans should leave home and move to other states

Oped by Joel Kotkin : AP – excerpt (via email)

Beachfront cottages in Capitola, California by zrants

America has been lazily divided by pundits into red and blue states, as if there weren’t constant movement of people between them. Fortunately, reality is a lot more purple — and hopeful — as immigrants, people of color and millennials reshape parts of America by voting with their feet and moving.

These demographic groups are migrating from the big coastal cities to the suburbs, the interior cities, the South and even parts of the Midwest. And in the process, these newcomers change both their new homes and are also changed by them.

Throughout most of the last century, the migration of Black Americans and immigrants was largely to the big cities of the Northeast, and, in the later decades, to the West Coast as well. Yet over the last decade there has been an accelerating shift of these populations out of those traditional havens to locales that have seen relatively little in-migration in the past.

In his analysis for Heartland Forward, a nonprofit research group, demographer Wendell Cox found that among the largest metropolitan areas, the fastest growth in the foreign-born population over the last decade took place in Dallas, Houston, Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, where their numbers went up between 25% and 40%. In contrast, foreign-born populations are either stagnating or dropping in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago, the nation’s traditional immigrant centers.

Ironically, the fastest growth has taken place in the states that supported Donald Trump while declining in those that supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. Rather than cluster in a few places, immigrants are increasingly following the earlier patterns of the 19th century, spreading out into the middle of the country.

This movement is already transforming and reenergizing some regions in surprising ways. Nashville may be the country music capital — stereotyped as the epitome of white American culture — but it is also home to a Little Kurdistan, a Somali population and a growing Latino community. Even a place like Fargo, N.D., which was more than 90% white in 1990, has seen newcomers and more foreign-born residents create a more diverse city. When I was there in the summer I happily stumbled upon a Thai ice cream parlor.

A similar pattern of movement away from traditional hubs can be seen among African Americans. Black populations are stagnant or even declining in places such as New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, Ore. In the city of San Francisco, the African American community has declined from 13% in 1970 to roughly 5% today. Although that community dates to the 19th century, it has become so small that there’s even a 2019 movie called “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

So where are African Americans headed? Places such as Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Las Vegas, as well as a host of smaller metro areas such as Boise, Idaho; Fayetteville, Ark.; Provo, Utah; Portland, Maine; and Scranton, Pa. For African Americans and other minorities, the prime motivation seems to be economics, as shown in a recent report for the Urban Reform Institute.

Median household income for African Americans in Atlanta, adjusted for cost of living (in which housing costs are a big component), was more than $60,000, compared with $36,000 in San Francisco and $37,000 in Los Angeles. The real household median income for Latinos is more than $65,000 in Columbus and St. Louis, compared with $43,000 in Los Angeles, $47,000 in San Francisco and $40,000 in New York.

One critical economic factor is homeownership. Property remains key to financial security: Home equity accounts for roughly two-thirds of the wealth of middle-income Americans, according to the Census Bureau. Yet in some parts of the country, notably coastal California and the Northeast, homeownership is often out of reach. Some 50% of Black residents own their homes in places such as the Atlanta and Oklahoma City metro areas compared with barely one-third in the metro areas of Los Angeles and Denver. Among Latinos, El Paso and St. Louis stand out as high homeownership metro areas, while homeownership is much lower in Boston and San Jose.

Even before the pandemic, the Brookings Institution noted, millennials were already leaving big cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago and headed toward less expensive metro areas such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston. The pandemic — in part, by allowing people to work remotely — has further hastened the move among younger tech workers from San Francisco, New York, Boston and Chicago to places such as Sacramento, Madison, Wis., and Cleveland.

The movement of socially liberal millennials, minorities and immigrants is seen by some progressives as a way to build a permanent Democratic majority in parts of the country that lean conservative. This certainly could be seen in the Georgia Senate races, where African American and Latino voters helped push two progressive Democrats, Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, to victory.

Conservatives fear that left-oriented newcomers will overturn the politics of their strongholds. But we should also consider the potential long-term effects when historically marginalized people are able to buy homes and start businesses. In the past, these changes tended to make people somewhat more conservative.

In Texas, where Latinos generally do better economically and are more able to buy homes than in California or New York, they also tend to split their votes more evenly between the parties, with almost 40% voting for Trump.

Even in big cities such as New York, Trump managed to improve performance in minority and immigrant neighborhoods, perhaps in part a reaction against the disproportionate effect of COVID-19 restrictions on businesses that employ more workers of color. American communities, according to a new study by The Times and the Reality Check Insights polling firm, are largely more middle of the road than their representatives, with moderates being the biggest group in cities, rural areas and suburbs across the country.

This movement toward centrist politics through migration potentially offers a way out for our toxic and highly polarized political environment. These demographic trends, which are unlikely to go away, may turn out to be the unifying force the country needs.

Joel Kotkin is the presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University and executive director of the Urban Reform Institute. He is the author of “The Coming of Neo-Feudalism.” @joelkotkin

Red Snapper in the Gulf Show Signs of Stress

By Kristen Kusek : usf – excerpt (includes graphics)

Nearly 100 percent of the red snapper sampled in the Gulf of Mexico over a six-year period by University of South Florida (USF) marine scientists showed evidence of liver damage, according to a study reported in Aquatic Toxicology.

The study is the first to correlate the concentration of crude oil found in the workhorses of the digestive system — the liver, gall bladder, and bile – with microscopic indicators of disease, such as inflammation, degenerative lesions, and the presence of parasites. The team sampled nearly 570 fish from 72 Gulf locations between 2011 to 2017 in the wake of the historic 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill…(more)

SF’s Legendary ‘Bush Man’ Is Still At It—In Key West, Florida

via email from Broke-ass Stuart

A busker/street performer had an infamous, 35-year Fisherman’s Wharf run delighting and infuriating random tourist passersby by scaring them while disguised as a shrubbery. But we now learn that he’s still doing that same schtick 3,270 miles away, decades later, in Key West, Florida. Read all about it right here.

A busker who travels

The soul of the city: San Francisco honors literary hero Lawrence Ferlinghetti

By Peter-Astrid Kane : theguardian – excerpt

By early afternoon, a small memorial of flowers and a can of Pabst had begun to accumulate outside the door of City Lights Books, to commemorate the death of its co-founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

And by the evening, a vigil for Ferlinghetti, one of the last living links to the Beat generation, was being held in the adjacent Jack Kerouac Alley, a tiny side street that separates the bookstore – a tourist attraction and official city landmark for decades – from the celebrated Beat hangout Vesuvio Cafe.

With votives, plenty of red wine, and at least one typewriter clacking out fresh verse on the sidewalk, a crowd of more than 100 people gathered to honor Ferlinghetti: published poets, personal friends, and people who simply appreciated sitting in a chair in City Lights’ Poetry Room…(more)

Too many memories to go into. Photos coming soon. From one of his birthday parties and some of my alley art. 101 year of a wonderfully magical life.


Lawrence Ferlinghetti obituary

Sick City

via email from Livable California

Salesforce towers above the towering empty office spaces gracing the San Francisco landscape

Vancouver’s high-profile professor, planner and author, Patrick Condon, told more than 160 California community leaders at the Livable California Teleconference on Feb. 6, 2021 that “upzoning” of neighborhoods drives up housing costs and cannot create affordable housing…

Prof. Condon’s latest book is Sick City, which addresses why upzoning doesn’t work, and is free to download here...

No amount of opening zoning or allowing for development will cause prices to go down. We’ve seen no evidence of that at all. It’s not the NIMBYs that are the problem – it’s the global increase in land value in urban areas that is the problem.”

Watch the video of Prof. Condon’s Presentation to Livable California HERE

Download the Slides he presented on Saturday HERE … (great graphics)

Good timing after the recent announcement by Salesforce that they are going to a remote workforce and declaring the end of the office tech era.