Sunday, September 22, 2019

RECYCLING CENTERS CLOSE

WHEN HOMELESS HURT THE POOR -

BSC, CA – In the City of Los Angeles, there are 36,300 homeless people, and the county has a total of 58,936 for a total of 95,236 people. Though there are not as many homeless living in Riverside, those living here have managed to drive out a business that helps poor people get by; recycling CRVs, plastic, and glass. RePlanet closed all their remaining locations early in August all over California. The company, which laid off all their employees, stated economic reasons like the rising minimum wage and insurance, but was that really all of it?


When I first moved to Riverside and took cans and bottles in for recycling, I could take a five minute bus ride down to the nearby Staters Supermarket. Depending on when you went, the line was usually a few people with loads of bottles. At first the people in line tended to be families, probably Christian who collect their congregation's empties from church gatherings. Over the months however, I noticed a change in those recycling. Also the supply side to keep the site printers working started getting sketchy. People with cars found more reliable sites, leaving the dregs.

The people in line the last few times at the nearby Staters were homeless, meth heads, druggies, sprinkled with just people who turn in their CRVs. The nearby supermarket quit taking the printouts of tickets, so the RePlanet site started issuing a cash refund. This required an extra person to be onsite as security. The people there now had tons of turn-ins, which always surprised me since you could sometimes tell a hookup, and you knew it wasn't pot that they were looking for.

I can't speak for any other part of town, but almost every time I go out riding the bus, I get begged for money. Most of them are not that old but they fall into several categories. Some are alcoholics, like the guy who begged money and after getting some change, made it straight away for a canned Steel at Rite Aid, the opposite direction from the bus stop. In 90 degree heat, all these poor folks are dressed like it is forty, usually pushing a cart [or three] full of stuff.


If you drive a car, it's questionable if you even see them, unless at a freeway entrance or exit. On a bus like the Route 1, which has a city long route, you can't miss them. Some are just passing through and some are regulars, but you see something that you learn in school about people. A regular got on. I've seen her before, always filthy, unkempt, and smelly, with a push cart. A young lady whom I have seen on several occasions, seems to have Elephant Man syndrome because she has growths of flesh on her side cheeks that look like locks of hair. Were it not for that one feature, she would look no different than any other clean, dressed student. I watched the smelly, filthy old woman point out the 'elephant man' lady to people on the bus one day.


The problem of the homeless is a nationwide crisis but their problem becomes your problem when things change because of them, like the return of 'pay toilets' though you are more likely to see a sign that says this.


In Riverside you are starting to see 'no loitering' at the bus stops because of the homeless sitting on bus stop benches and causing buses to slow or stop to no avail. In fact, bus stop benches have been altered to keep the homeless from sleeping on them. In the process, even if a paying customer, your hips must be just so wide or you will have to stand or find a different place to sit.


The 'no loitering or risk arrest' signs I started to see first, appeared around churches. WWJS?


And there is one other consequence brought on by the homeless.


These trees, which used to have humongous canopies, went from looking great to being skimpy, as you can see. Trimmed back to a bare necessity, the trees no longer support any communities of birds. Oh well, you may say. Well Sports Fans, it becomes a little more personal when you realize that the trees are the lungs for the planet, and us. The ratio of usable Earth atmosphere is as a coat of paint on a basketball. That ain't much.

It isn't the duty of the state to care and feed the homeless, or even to house them. It is the purpose of the Church to care for the poor, poor of Spirit, Poor of health, and poor of substance. Remember, real life is just a bus ride away. It's in print, just like me.



FIN

(*- Homeless LA and LA County homeless figures, DowntownNews.com, Vol. 48, #23)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

UCR NORTH DISTRICT PROJECT ADVANCES

GONE LIKE ORIGINAL STAR WARS -

BSC, CA – The sound of earth moving equipment and dirt hauling trucks, many double bottoms, can be heard through the neighborhoods, though there is less now since most of the WWII buildings used for UCR's married couple complex are gone. The project called North District was unveiled a couple of years back. Meetings listed as soundings for the neighbors who live in the north side of UCR's campus were basically one-sided; as the University told the local folks how things were to be.

The last meeting which took place with the Measure O Oversight Committee included the lawyer who wrote the measure, a 'Measure writer' akin to someone who writes grants, or a person who knows the measure in and out because they are the person [lawyer] who wrote it. He was there of his own 'free' will but the local people there were not buying his explanation. Plus this guy from Northern Cali, a lawyer, looked more like a traveling medicine show barker, with his big handlebar mustache and fancy suit. He seemed there to gently steer the Oversight Committee in the direction best suited for the written measure.


The tie-in between Measure O, which is RUSD and was sold to voters as school upgrades, is the North District Project, and features some needed campus additions as our lead-in shot depicts. More on the before and after, following the jump. Meanwhile, Chancellor Wolde-Ab Isaac, Ph.D. has issued a slick bulletin to announce a similar Measure to upgrade RCC, Norco, and MoVal since Riverside residents swallowed Measure O. This proposed measure from RCCD would also have a Citizens' Bond Oversight Committee. No confirmation on whether the same lawyer from up north is writing this bond measure, as yet.


In the 'before' shot we see how this area looked before the two year absence of married couples [mainly Asian]. It was a very nice neighborhood, sans the lawns.

Homes for students and birds, lots of birds
Now the after shots, as the UCR North District rumbles ahead.



Our lead-in shot indicates what is being touted as coming to this area. Within this smokescreen is the idea of a high school STEM program also being part of this North District layout and paid for with Measure O funds, something not allocated for the designated funds.

I guess voters never heard of the Golden Rule. That where the people with the gold make the rules. We got a library that nobody wanted, except for a small group who wanted bragging rights at the taxpayers' expense.

Now the voters of Riverside get to fund money for bragging rights by another group, and their lawyer from up north Sacramento way, while another Ph.D lines up with the same spiel for the Riverside Community College District.

Remember North District, Sports Fans.





 It's UCR's Greenback New Deal.








Tuesday, September 10, 2019

EASTMAN HONORED IN LA

MY LOS ANGELES WEEKEND, PT 1 –

BSC, CA - LA is a magic town. You don't have to be that way, but it helps a lot. A case in point is my latest assignment for BSC, the city honoring Richard Eastman for his contribution to the illness of HIV/AIDS. This honor is also a declaration and tip o' the hat to Mary Jane Green, aka, marijuana or 'cannabis', in the curing of the disease. The sign below is for all the people who weren't at City Hall to witness and hear the official declaration made to Richard Eastman, resident of West Hollywood.


In this country and all over the world even, there is a huge market in just treating people for their medical symptoms related to various illnesses. Now imagine a world without all that crap. Imagine seeing happy people because they have their health, instead of dragging around looking dismal. Richard Eastman represents a person who should be dead, or at least depressed. Instead, he is the opposite. This is all due to cannabis, or Mary Jane, what cannabis was called back in the '30's, according to the WEEDMAPS Museum of Weed, but I'm skipping ahead.

Knowing where Richard is going to be isn't the same thing as being where he is. This time I at least had advance notice of where he was going to be for a minute. I had a narrow window to get the story and my personal copy of #WOW2019 signed by Richard, the author [reviewed here]. By the time I found the correct spot [after getting turned around, a common occurrence in LA], the council meeting was under way with different cancer victims.

The first group of cancer patients/activists were part of an all-black group representing the single biggest faction of prostrate cancer. They were seeking more recognition for testing since black men comprised the largest population of victims. Even the doctor with them [white] agreed with the population findings though I don't remember a reason given for the disparity.


Then it was time for Richard to speak, and he was pretty self-effacing, only mentioning his Hollywood Sign saving venture. This time, most of the praise was heaped upon Eastman, as he was solely responsible for the West Hollywood stand of cannabis over HIV and AIDS. Part of the Dennis Peron group out of San Francisco, Richard was the part of side that won public support for medical marijuana. Out of this coalition came Prop 215, making California the first medical marijuana state.


Richard, with his distinctive profile and penchant for hats wasn't hard to spot.





Others were also taking pictures of Richard and his entourage, including the council member presenting the declaration to Richard.


And Melissa Balin, always fashionably late, rushed in like a quarterback through a hole in the line, camera in hand.


 And after a couple of fist pumps later amid some rousing applause,



Then a quick photo session, and they were gone. They all went out a back door that I never found. But LA is a magical town. Richard and I have a common conclusion about cannabis that we share. So it wasn't so much a surprise as crossing paths [1 in 4,000,000] on a subway platform which yielded these two photos plus 2 happy campers.




 At this point I realized what my next project is. End of Pt.1, My Los Angeles Weekend.






Tuesday, September 3, 2019

RUBIDOUX ROUGHNECKS

IS CANNABIS MAGIC? -

BSC, CA – First off, I hope you had a happy Labor Day. Here is my Labor Day tale. It starts out like any other quest for me, I am looking for weed. Lately around my neck of the woods, the sesh I usually go to, is gone. No web presence and no tickets to get in. I can read the writing on the wall, it's been shut down. The replacement sesh was a Christian open mike music session the night I went, so there I was, down to my last dab of wax. And a little dab won't do ya.

Remembering the last time I went through the little burg of Rubidoux and some recent small talk with an acquaintance led me to believe that little Rubidoux, being primarily Mexican, was going its merry little way, not getting much notice from the man. The picture below which shows a vacant lot, used to be a dispensary. The Rubidoux Roughnecks [my nickname] tore the place down after robbing and cleaning it out.


“The local gang are the ones who sell pot around here and they don't like outsiders coming in because then their sales drop. They shot two people at a shop [about a mile north down Rubidoux Blvd] just three or four days ago. With the city asking for 5-15 thousand for a license to operate, no gang is going to pay that. The cops shut down all the other places.” This was the word I got from someone who knows the local scene. So I waited for the bus ride back to Riverside.

The coming weekend I would be back in LA, my pot home away from home, plus maybe on Tuesday I would try Moreno Valley. I was glad to have departed some Bible knowledge to the cool person passing out food [Psalms 104:14]. After sharing some old memories with someone who remembered the Gold bud days of yore, the bus came.

As I rode back I decided on where to grab some lunch and made for that spot between the bus transfers.

About 20 minutes later I rested my somewhat tired self, sat down, and lowered my lunch bag to the ground. I watched this guy I had seen earlier as I crossed the street to get to my second bus stop. He got off his e-scooter and said, “I deliver weed. Would you like some delivered to you?”

In the remaining two minutes before my home bus home, he smoked me out with some hybrid leaf that he was carrying in stock. Needless to say, I got hooked up for a delivery. In fact, I'm medicating and enjoying the leaf as I write this now. Grade B+ or A-, fluffy, terpy, fresh, but not sticky.

So I ask you, I started out looking for weed. I could wait for the weekend and LA, but I'd rather have a little something to tide me over till then. After going all the way out to Rubidoux, then getting lunch and waiting for the bus home, weed comes to me. Is this magic? Yes, and why Mary Jane deserved a last name. Well, light my menorah and Happy Hanukkah, hemp oil.
 
Mary Jane Green