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I’m For DC Statehood!

April 19, 2021

That is a DC Statehood flag.. count ’em! 51 stars.

The above is a promotional selfie a bunch of us are posting on social media.. part of an Indivisible Yolo campaign. Here is a great overview of the reasons for DC Statehood. (https://statehood.dc.gov/page/why-statehood-dc)

Why Statehood for DC

For more than 200 years, the residents of Washington, DC have been subjected to systemic inequality and denied the full rights of citizenship that the residents of states enjoy including voting representation in Congress. It is time to right a great historic wrong.

  • The District of Columbia is the only political and geographical entity within the United States of America whose citizens bear the responsibilities of citizenship, including taxation and Selective Service registration, without sharing in the full rights and privileges of citizenship.
  • Washington’s residents pay more taxes than residents in 22 states and pay more per capita to the federal government than any state—yet they have no votes in Congress.
  • DC is subject to the whims of the federal government where Congress interferes with our local laws, local funding and operations.
  • DC has all the same responsibilities, but not the same rights, as our fellow Americans—we are treated as second-class citizens
  • Like our counterparts in all 50 states, D.C. residents pay federal taxes, serve in the military and on juries, start businesses and families, and contribute to our national economy.
  • Yet, we are still unable to control our own budget or our own laws, and we still have no votes in Congress.
  • DC residents want statehood and made their voter clear during the 2016 referendum with an 86% in favor to make Washington, DC the 51.
  • Congress passed the Democrat-dominated House by a vote of 232-180. It was the first time that a chamber of Congress had passed such legislation. Currently, legislation was introduced in both chambers and has overwhelming support among Senate Democrats.

American Democracy: Fixing the Racial Inequality

  • This is an American issue—critical on racial justice and democracy.
  • Washington, DC is a historically Black city and Black people still make 47% of the population (41% White, 4% Asian and 11% are of Hispanic origins).
  • American democracy systematically overrepresents White voters at the expense of Black voters and other voters of color.
  • The average Black American voting power is only 75 percent as much representation as the average white American in the Senate and a 55 percent to the Hispanic voter.
  • The structure of the United States Senate has less voting power for People of Color compared to White Americans. The District of Columbia is severely disadvantaged with 0 representation or voting power.
  • The District’s lack of representation is a wider oppression and disenfranchisement of Black Americans.
  • If admitted to the union, the District would be the only plurality-Black state in the country. This would highlight on the importance towards making Congress more responsive to the needs of a diversifying electorate and fixing racial inequalities.

Equal Treatment 

  • Since the riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021, when supporters of Former President Donald Trump attacked the US Capitol, the women and men of the DC Metropolitan Police Department answered the call to support our federal partners without hesitation and quickly restored order to the Capitol despite not having full representation in Congress.
  • The lack of precaution by federal authorities to prepare for a highly anticipated attack placed Congressional leadership in danger, clarifies the need for a District of Columbia that controls its own National Guard. Currently, the order must come through the White House.
  • While our population is larger than that of both Vermont and Wyoming, under the CARES Act, the District was denied $755 million in emergency funds, which is the amount provided to the least populous state through the Coronavirus Relief Fund.

Washington, DC is large enough to be a state:

  • DC has 712,000 residents, more than Vermont and Wyoming and comparable with other states including Delaware, Alaska, and several others.

Washington, DC can afford to be a state:

  • DC takes on the responsibilities of a statehood without enjoying all the rights and privileges embodied in the U.S. Constitution often referred as “taxation without representation”.
  • DC residents pay the highest per-capita federal income taxes in the US.
  • In total, DC residents pay more in total federal income tax than residents of 22 other states, but have no say over how those tax dollars are spent.
  • DC now operates as if were a state with the exception of federal control over our courts and people in prison for committing felonies in DC.

DC residents are denied representation:

  • DC residents have contributed to this nation just like residents of all other states. More than 11,000 DC Residents currently serving in the military can be sent to war to fight for American values, but do not have full voting rights in their own place of residence.
  • Since World War I, DC has sent nearly 200,000 brave men and women to defend and fight for democracy abroad, and tragically 2,000 of those patriots never made it home.
  • DC elects a non-voting Delegate to the US House of Representatives who can draft legislation but cannot vote. The current Delegate for DC is Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton
  • DC residents do not have a voice in Senate Committees or on the Senate Floor. This means that DC residents have no say in the determination of who should serve as leadership for federal agencies, Serve as U.S. Ambassadors to foreign countries, sit on federal court benches or serve in the U.S. Supreme Court. This is true even for the federal courts within DC’s boundaries. 

Statehood for Washington, DC is constitutional:

  • The Constitution sets only a maximum size, “not exceeding ten miles square,” for the federal district that is the “Seat of the Government of the United States” (Article 1. Section 8). Congress has the authority to redefine the borders of the federal district and shrink its size, as it did in 1846, when the portion west of the Potomac was returned to Virginia (now Arlington and Alexandria Counties).
  • The proposed state map carves out a 2-mile radius to be called the National Capital Service Area, which includes federal buildings, such as the White House, Capitol, Supreme Court and the National Mall. This becomes the seat of the federal government as defined in the Constitution.

We need to revive the basic ideals of American democracy. We know that DC statehood cannot wait. Generations of Washingtonians have been denied the right to participate in our democracy – to have their voices and votes heard in Congress, to help shape the future of our nation, and to have a say on Supreme Court justices, whose decisions affect every single person living in the United States. It is time for the 712,000 tax-paying Americans to get full equality and autonomy in their government.

Bran Loyalty

April 18, 2021

We might be getting weirder. I know it’s not THAT weird to buy one’s cereal by the case… people do weirder things, for sure. And I can totally defend buying it by the case…makes sense on a health level, on an efficiency level, and on a convenience level.

But what I’m noticing as we both age, is that we seem to be getting deeper and deeper into our daily rituals, and our innocent little daily rituals are starting to look a lot more like disturbing little neuroses. Our habits and patterns are getting so regular that we can each set clocks to each other’s comings and goings. We are turning into the people we used to sit in humorous judgment of.. those weirdos who ate or laundered or TV’d on a schedule.

That’s us!

Anyway….

Raisin bran… it’s what’s for breakfast.

Jeff

April 17, 2021

It’s been a week or so since Jeff Levy died.

While we were in the same first grade class, fourth grade class, and probably at least another dozen in our thirteen years in school together from Valmonte to Malaga Cove to Palos Verdes High, we didn’t really know much of one another back then. Just knew each other in the way you do when you grow up in a place together. But we did become pretty good friends on Facebook over the course of the last .. what .. fifteen years? We were both early and frequent Facebook users, and exchanged a lot of messages and thread commentary over those years. Even a few phone calls.

There are definitely wonderful aspects to social media.

The end of his life was unfortunate.. even tragic. Alcoholism is brutal and I’m deeply sorry for how it messed with and shortened his life. I think, though I don’t know for sure, that he was living the life he wanted. There’s a lot I don’t know, but am putting pieces together from the stories coming in on his FB pages. He went to UC Santa Barbara, dropped out, worked for MapLink and in various music stores. Live music was his passion — playing it, listening to it, traveling for it, recommending it. I think for him, life was about music, friends, friends he met through music, and more music.

The one above is maybe junior high.. Roger, Carter and Jeff.

He was a Willie Nelson fan and friend…

His life was also about baseball… he got an early start and never let up…

I have no doubt he played on or against teams that Jay was on. I have no doubt that I saw him play in a lot of Little League games..as we spent great gobs of time at the Little League field right below the playground at Valmonte School. Mom was in charge of the snack shack for I-don’t-know-how-many-years, and Dad even announced some games. I have clear memories of the field, those bleachers.. and must, must, must have seen Jeff around the place draining a Pixie Stick or biting into a sno-cone.

Jeff’s sister took some wonderful photos of Jeff and his friends in the early years that say as much about Jeff and his friends as the era we all grew up in:

Chuck and Jeff:

Chuck, Don and Jeff. Note the Nixon-Agnew buttons they are all wearing; I don’t know about Don, but Chuck and Jeff became hard core dems.. which is a huge part of what brought us together in these past years. There are not many who came out of conservative PV and took that hard turn to the left. That was definitely a bond for us.

And another with Jeff and Carter…

This one is sweet, as it’s got so many of the Valmonte guys.. Jeff and Chuck sitting, and I think Don Meek, Lance Kinney, Jeff Schultz and Peter Kirkup.

Here’s what I wrote on Jeff’s wall..

Like many here, I knew Jeff from kindergarten days. We may have been milk monitors together.. but I can find no documentation.

So.. that’s a 60-year friendship. Back then, to me, he was just one of the boys in our school.. though famous because he was the dinosaur guy. And Chuck Babbitt’s friend. Also, he was extremely cute.

I was aware of Jeff throughout all our school years, but I think our friendship began way later in life.

We connected over baseball scorekeeping — he sent me so many challenging umpire calls to see how I would have scored them. His love of baseball included his caring about and following my son who played Little League and eventually high school ball. Jeff was so sweet to this baseball mom (so appreciated) and supportive of a kid he never met. We also both loved Vin and the Dodgers.

What I learned about Jeff in our later years was how sentimental he was. He remembered names of pretty much all of our classmates, remembered all our teachers, and most of all remembered and cherished our shared experience of grammar school.. like the freeze bell! He has single-handedly kept that memory alive. When a mutual friend from grammar school died (Katy), he called me and we talked for a long time. He was quick to call and connect because it was clear that those conversations meant a lot to him.

He even made me a button once with my fourth grade picture on it. I imagine he made lots of them.

He contacted me every time one of his favorite bands or musicians was coming to my area and always insisted I go (I See Hawks, Rick Shae, Eliza Gilkeson are a few that come to mind). He always included reams of background on these guys and sample videos to make his case.

He wore his passions on his sleeve.

We also connected over writing. He was a great story teller and an excellent writer. His humanity and generosity were so evident in his stories.

His health decline was so hard to watch in recent years. I’m sure we all wish we could have changed his course. Though ours was mostly a distant FB friendship, I am surprised by how hard it is to see him go. I’m so going to miss him. Glad the pain’s over. RIP my kindergarten pal. xo

I imagine he was a wonderful writer because he was an observant and caring human being. But maybe some of it was because the PV school district had a focus on English writing skills! I found this mailer (sent to all the homes in PV in about 1961) in the batch of stuff Matt gave me last month when I was down in Southern Calif for a visit. It was a trove of memories.. and this one was a real find.

(A friend of Dad’s had sent it to him with a funny note attached because Jay was featured.)

Jeff’s sister posted a comment on Jeff’s FB wall about wishing he’d accepted Jesus before he died. Lots of folks weighed in that though Jeff didn’t share his sister’s evangelical beliefs, he was a good friend, a decent and caring guy, and wherever he was going in the afterlife they hoped to join him there. I agree. I posted this in response:

I have to say, that between his close family, a caring upbringing, and his vast community of friends, Jeff developed a kindness and humanity that was true and deep. It seems to me he was comfortable with his spiritual self. He was a decent man, whatever his struggles. I feel like he lived the life he wanted to live, knew his passions and loves, and stayed true to those. He owned his struggles. He gave his upbeat and lovely self to others to the bitter end.

Even though we were not close friends, we had that shared past thing going on. I enjoyed our communications, if occasional and limited to three or four subjects. It was almost family close (like an out of state cousin, not a brother), no expectations other than an assumed and reciprocated respect for one another.. a knowing that we come from the same place, from the same stock. I have found that significant as I’ve reconnected with dozens of PV folks, many of whom were not in any of my circles then. I have so appreciated the connection. As I observed when meeting with Sarah, Nancy, Sidne, Wendy, Wendy, Wendy (so many Wendy’s), Chuck, Lisa, Lance, Dana over these past few years, there is a familiarity and comfort, an intersection of shared experience and context.. even as we hardly knew each other in school. We actually know each other well.

And same with Jeff.

I’m surprised by the gut punch of his death. I’ve been feeling glum all week. His story ends so tragically–and surely didn’t have to be so–which is probably why it’s especially hard and especially sad. He traveled so far from the carefree kid he was in kindergarten. It’s likely he died alone on the floor of his dingy room, probably deeply intoxicated. Dana said visits were not so great in those last weeks. He said it was just so sad. I can’t imagine the last few years were a picnic.. a lot of pain and immobility, restrictions on living his life. A lot of people cared about him and appreciated his great wit, fun spirit, talents and kindness. I hope his people showed up. He seemed not to ask for or expect a lot from folks, maybe recognizing he made his choices and didn’t feel like burdening other people with his struggles? I don’t have any idea if that’s true. But I know that he knew he was dying in the last weeks and months of his life — he told his sister so. Yet, what I saw was someone who remained, almost to the bitter end, friendly and engaged, at least online… posting music videos, posting odes to Emmy Lou Harris, looking forward to baseball season.

So.. I hope he lived the life he wanted. He sure stayed true to his passions throughout. I will say again and absolutely: he was a kind and decent soul. Heaven for sure.

Here are a few class pictures that have Jeff in them (and so many others!) … just so I can look at them all in one bloggy place:

First grade:

And the power quadrant.. Wendy Cooper, Kevin Williams, me, Jeff, Mrs. Marshall, Jeff Ford (?), Chuck and Shane (?).

Third grade (I’m not in this class.. I had Mrs. Von Mueller again):

And fourth grade:

And finally this one… it’s the most recent that I could find..

Rest in Peace.

Single Purple Tulip

April 16, 2021

A lovely late afternoon in this part of the backyard…

(Do ya love the hammock?)

And progress in this part of the backyard.. the raised beds are coming along, if in fits and starts…

Book ’em Jimmo

April 15, 2021

We’ve had April 15th on the calendar for weeks, knowing that today — at 7am sharp — was the day we could book a camping spot at Tuolumne Meadows Campground during its final summer month of operation.

I know this does not seem like blog worthy news. But it is.

And, weird and frantic as it was — each of us on our separate computers — we clicked, we refreshed, we panicked, we refreshed, we cobbled days (sometimes one at a time) until we had a reasonable string of days (and then some). We now have a surplus of days and will give a bunch back (to the delight and relief of somebody in the future, no doubt, who will be as desperate then as we were today).

We are not Yosemite ground campers (we are tent campers, dammit), but in the pandemic times, you do what you gotta do.

I looked at this screen a lot this morning. As you can see, no days are available. We have fifteen days reserved between August 15 and September 15 (the window that opened today). We’ll use probably a third of those, and, like I said, return the others once we know Peter’s plans.

Happy happy happy!

I know. I promise I am paying attention to the George Floyd trial (rapt attention, as I have for weeks), and the manslaughter charges announced today in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, for the officer who accidentally (purportedly) shot and killed Daunte Wright just ten miles from where another police officer is being tried for murder in another senseless killing of a black man. This is just sickening, exhausting stuff. The injustices are profound.

American society is in a shambles. It’s vicious out there. Where is the decency, the morality? This is the only thing: our failures to protect one another, our failures to be compassionate.

We all have to pay attention, listen carefully, be open minded and open hearted. Learn a thing or two. I am doing that… with every fiber.

~~~

And.

Life on A Street moves along.. today, two very exciting garden developments:

A poppy finally bloomed. We thought, perhaps, we’d not see any poppy flowers this year — maybe it was too much to expect from our first poppy plantings in the new yard iteration. But today..

And second exciting thing… Jim hung the hammock in the back of the backyard. That is a piece of beautiful, functional art!

(Can ya just imagine lying there?)

So… not earth shattering .. but we have to find joy in our own worlds.

Little T

April 13, 2021

I may have written about this before… but it never gets old.

When you set up a family trust, you inevitably get junk mail addressed to that trust.

That would be annoying enough. But when you whimsically (and sentimentally) name your family trust after your kid’s favorite stuffed animal, things start to get weird.

And… because the Peterson-Frame Little T Trust is so far out of the ordinary, and apparently very confusing to the junk mail crowd, you really get some doozies. This is one of my faves:

They just don’t know what to do with our trust name…. which we kind of get a kick out of. I don’t think our trust attorney ever really recovered either.

Latest Developments

April 12, 2021

Today was a day of progress on numerous home & garden fronts:

Ruben and crew worked on the north front side yard. Yay! Cleared out a bunch of stuff, planted numerous plants, laid irrigation, and finally bark. Look at those hydrangeas…

And these things (fuzzy ferny things)…

That pretty much does that. [claps hands]

And then the front planter got planted with this reedy thing that is supposed to grow into something much much bigger…

(Let’s hope, right?)

And then, in the back yard, we moved the viking hammock from the deck to its new place in the corner. Advantages: 1) it’s so big that it crowds the deck, so this is a better place, and 2) we can now see it! We’ll have to figure out how to protect it from the rain and sun (a waterproof cover is in our future). Of course it will look even better when the hammock is onboard! I CANNOT WAIT to be lying and swaying in that thing!

And finally, Jim finished spuzzing up his antique survey tool. He’d have a more accurate name for it. It’s gorgeous and looks like the space was designed especially for it. It’s our new conversation piece.

They Smell Good, Too!

April 11, 2021

Note to self: get Easter lilies from now on.

One to Watch

April 10, 2021

This little pistol’s gonna be fun to keep an eye on in the years to come….

And while I’m promoting Alexis’s gorgeous photography, here’s another she posted today.. a beach scene from earlier in the week. Juni looks to have no problems keeping up with her older brother and sister…