Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I’ve been anxious to see some great menu items using sweet potatoes and yams; my wife has one that adds Comice pears to it for those with a sweet tooth. Already pumpkin pies are vying for attention, with some being a disappointment. I like a thick pie and a genuine crust. Some of the inventions recently were way too loose, with pumpkin flavor hard to discern. Nonetheless, this is a time for people to take the time to hang with family, spend extra time with those that may be coming from far away, and take special joy in the gathering of generations. There are also all those school plays with kids dressed up as turkeys, Indians, and Pilgrims. Every year we get to thank the Native peoples for helping the Pilgrims (if they only knew) survive on this continent, despite their incredible naïvety and helplessness. This also signals the beginning of Christmas light season with the cheerful (I know, and wasteful – but what price good cheer?) light shows brightening our neighborhoods.
It would be nice if there were some kind of holiday truce over in Iraq. We need a break from this war, the sooner the better. First and foremost I would like to see our troops stop policing Baghdad neighborhoods. That would be a good start. As our presidential wannabees continue to debate one another, the war just keeps rumbling on. There seems to be some good news out of the war zone, including the return of Iraqi citizens. Should that hold up, it would be a good sign for stabilization. In regards to Pakistan, no one is going to tell me Musharraf made these moves without close consultation with the U.S. I can’t believe this guy would ever consider giving up his uniform – that would be suicidal. I guess the judicial system was preparing to strip him of his position and forced his hand. Funny, the upheaval comes from their legal community, and funnier yet seeing attorneys demonstrating in suit and tie. But what the hey, a lawful society is a good thing, and more power to them (though I guess not after what happened) for trying to create a more legal and democratic society.
The Democratic presidential candidates are an oddity to me. When they speak, it seems as if Senators Biden and Dodd make very worthwhile presentations. They are head and shoulders above Obama and Edwards, yet they are always on the bottom tier. I guess it is a popularity contest and a huge money game, in which they have not been able to compete. I am upset with Biden in that Delaware is the home of many of our country’s banks, and they are the worst capitalist offenders going, including in the sub-prime lending area and, more consistently, in the credit card game where the U.S. population is being ripped off at an incredible rate. I like him except for that.
And the Republicans have this Ron Paul fellow coming on strong. He reminds me of a guy I had working for me (one pay period) about 20 years ago, who told me it was illegal for me to withhold money from his paycheck and subsequently faxed me 100 pages from the U.S. Constitution backing up this belief. I assured him he could believe whatever he wished, but he needed a permit from the IRS if he wanted me to not withhold taxes. None was forthcoming. Paul has some great ideas, like an anti-imperialism platform, but then some crackpot ideas like getting rid of the Department of Education. He is fun to have around, so we can give some of the more far-out ideas some airplay.
I guess Councilman Bob Holbrook is not happy with comments I made about his politics in a Publisher’s Notebook. Normally, I just allow an opposing view to speak for itself; however, Holbrook’s Letter to the Editor [page 12] demands a response. He begins by claiming I have not spoken with him. I guess I did not make much of an impression, because last fall just prior to the election we sat down for what I considered a quite cordial 90-minute breakfast at Rae’s. He spoke plenty, and I listened attentively, and in the end it was clear he was a very likable sort who I pretty much disagreed with on politics. During that fall campaign, we offered all candidates opportunities to express what they believed via an extensive questionnaire, and Holbrook availed himself of it to great extent. He had plenty of room to inform our readers of his position. It is true I refused to run, during the last week of the election cycle, a very blatant campaign piece by him as a Letter to the Editor, though I offered him the right to purchase ad space, which would have been more appropriate.
In regards to the ficus trees being slated for removal, a very trusted person came to me and shared what he heard Holbrook say regarding money and ficus trees. He asked me not to use his name because he felt it might irritate Holbrook. I don’t know why it would, as in his letter this week Holbrook makes it very clear he is indeed for cutting down some of the ficus trees(now it is just 20 – originally half the trees were slated for removal). And he is not talking about the ones north of Wilshire, or some residential neighborhood; he is talking about the ones where money is available to cut them on 2nd and 4th Streets. Holbrook goes on to justify the cutting based on the condition of the trees, despite tree experts’ claims to the contrary. If he wants them cut and there is money to cut them, then he should be clear about his position and not try to obfuscate it or blame me for revealing it clearly. I am glad to hear the number of proposed tree removals is now down to 20; my guess is with even more careful examination we can get the number down to the correct amount, 0.
Finally, it is clear Holbrook will not recuse himself from voting about herbal farmacies, despite a lifetime of work as a pharmacist of mainline pharmaceutical drugs, which I do believe taints his opinion toward herbal remedies, including marijuana. As for his position supporting the police who want to keep medical marijuana farmacies out of Santa Monica, I would like to gently remind the councilman that the residents of Santa Monica have overwhelmingly voted in support of medical marijuana and decriminalizing marijuana whenever given the opportunity. The police are here to enforce societal laws and the wishes of the public, not vice versa. Holbrook should be defending residents’ wishes, not the police. But then, we have heard and read all this before. Nothing will change; I will go on supporting medical marijuana and oppose cutting of trees, while Holbrook will be firm in his opposition to medical marijuana farmacies and support the city’s position on tree removal for 2nd and 4th Streets. We should be thankful we live in a society where we are allowed to have differing viewpoints, where there is freedom of the press, where our local politicians are elected fairly by local voters. Isn’t that what Democracy is all about?