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MORNING GRIPE: This is what the Sacramento Bee home page looks like to a paid subscriber. I guess it's like an advertising bag they enclose the fish-wrap in on a sunny Thanksgiving Day before Black Friday, but this is the worst of any newspaper page I have seen this fine day. And that's a full window and not manipulated at all. From a marketing standpoint, this does not promote stickiness to your site; it turns people away. So, if I miss stories, blame it on ads covering them up.
Happy Humpday! It's raining pretty much everywhere in California today, with the heavy rain here at the Nooner Global Headquarters right now at 5:30 and reaching Sandy Eggo by this afternoon. For the newer Noonerites, I run the late-night shows in the background as I rub my eyes and start looking at the day's news and pick up from the night before.
This morning, it was Bill and Melinda Gates on Colbert. When Steven noted that Gates is the second richest man in the world behind Jeff Bezos, he responded "We're trying to give it away faster." And, that's true, the work of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation around the world is remarkable. Pick and choose one issue (i.e. charter schools) and attack, but take the portfolio in totality.
Gates also called for higher taxes on the wealthy to tackle societal problems but stopped short of jumping on AOC's 70% marginal rate bandwagon. "Most of this wealth wasn't generated through ordinary income," referring to their wealth and that of Bezos, Schultz, and the like. In particular, he identified the estate tax.
I'm no Gates fanboy. As you know, I am mostly in the Apple ecosystem with my MacBook Air (still with a broken "e" key and thus an external keyboard), but I admit to almost always having Excel open. But, it's pretty remarkable.
Last night, I finished reading Walter Isaacson's "The Innovators," which is the stories behind the computer technology innovators that led us to where we are today. For those who read Isaacson's "Steve Jobs," you know he's one of the best authors covering the sector and tells fascinating stories. Anyway, reading about Gates in a school "computer" lab while Jobs and Woz were undertaking similar activities was fascinating. Both are fantastic reads.
In 1994, my first semester at UC Davis, I worked in a computer lab at UC Davis. (I still can visualize answering the phone "Surge IV IBM lab, this is Scott.") That was literally the first academic year when most students encountered the internet, and certainly the web, for the first time. I previously had been on CompuServe and Prodigy and used Gopher and Telnet to access newsgroups and email, but that was the beginning of the web and the sites were almost all non-commercial.
The iPhone next to me (certainly not the newest) on my desk has more storage and processing power than the thirty IBMs in my lab and the "Mac lab" (collection of 30-or-so dark grey Powerbooks used for writing classes) in the trailer across from the IBM trailer combined. I could replace my beat-up MacBook and have it on my doorstep by Friday. I could have TP or groceries on my porch tonight--without picking up the phone.
This does have relevance to California politics and is not just irrelevant Scott rambling. Those deliveries likely are made by an independent contractor who see themselves as having an opportunity or being abused (Dynamex). I'm glad Gavin brought that up and called for a practical solution from the Legislature.
Also, the stories from "The Innovators" came up during the recording of the inaugural SacTown Talks by The Nooner podcast/videocast yesterday with my co-host Gibran Maciel and a great guest. Look for its release in a few days--this is going to be a great new series and we can't wait to line up our next guests (and sponsors).
THE SPEECH: The biggest criticism of Governor Gavin Newsom's first State of the State speech "He gives good speeches, but can he deliver?"
As of this writing, former assemblyman Travis Allen, who is on the ballot for GOP chair next weekend, hasn't responded on Twitter yet. That's very unlike Travis. Meanwhile, his main competition, Jessica Patterson, was quick to respond with "Talk is cheap; California is expensive and a full statement. GOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox tweeted in response "She nailed it."
Democrats largely said that Gavin nailed it. He catered to liberal red meat with attacks on the Trump Administration while paring back expensive and controversial infrastructure proposals that had been championed by Jerry Brown. He also focused on housing and homelessness which. While seen as social spending programs that some may have knee-jerk responses to on both sides, they are top issues for constituents of both sides of the aisle. They are also extremely complicated problems and can't be solved by simply spending money from the state's healthy reserves.
Shortly after the speech, I stopped by the new bookstore under construction adjacent the Crest Theatre on Kay Street and then into Darna Mediterranean Kitchen for a great lunch. (If you haven't been there yet, go and tell owner Mo--usually at the register--you heard about it from The Nooner. He is very interested in politics and we had a lengthy conversation. I don't want a kickback, but I want him to know the Capitol community is there for him and we talked about The Nooner.
Darna is currently open 11-3 from Monday through Friday with a delicious buffet (sandwiches and wraps are also available if you're in a to-go mood). It has ample TVs--often with soccer on, as he is Jordanian. He told me that he would love to be open longer including the evenings, but the homeless/mentally ill problem on Kay Street is just too much. Sure enough, as I was walking in, a young guy was cursing up a storm in front of Darna because he couldn't get the child safety cap off his bottle of Nyquil. Mo said "Basically, every day."
I am very familiar with the issues of mental illness and addiction. I also know its effects on the individual and those in their circles. In this case, it also affects businesses. While I have the patience to wait a couple of minutes for the addict to break into his bottle of Rite Aid-bought drug of choice, the out-of-town conventioneers at the 13th/Kay or the game attendees at the 7th/Kay end will not make it to Darna. They won't go to the anticipated Capital Books.
We've now seen the local fave Cafe Bernardo, national chain Bennigan's, and short-term local concept The Rind fail at the corner of 10th/Kay. DOCO appears to be a huge success and major renovations are underway at the Sacramento Convention Center. But, until the societal problems of homelessness and mental illness including addiction are tackled, we will have bookends at 7th and 13th, and nobody will want to read the pages--literally in the case of Capital Books--in between.
It didn't come across to me until I walked over to Kay for my visit to the Capital Books shell and Darna for lunch, but his confrontation of this issue was the highlight of Gavin's speech yesterday for me. It's not a headline issue today in the morning read, but it is in The Nooner. It's my prerogative...I can do what I wanna do. (alternative to trade one poison for another)
Newsom's appointment of Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg to lead a Commission on Homelessness & Supportive Housing was praiseworthy. While many Sacramento city residents are quick to blame Steinberg for the city's woes, remember that the city turned down a strong mayor effort when Kevin Johnson was mayor. Steinberg is a great front-man for the city but has just a little more power than the Elk Grove rotating mayor.
I hope the new commission looks beyond those currently homeless. The Kay Street challenge is far beyond those who find the shelter of the entrances to closed businesses at night. In the 25 years I have been around here, the mental health and addiction problems among those who have substandard housing often have led to the scarier encounters for residents and visitors alike. These are far more difficult issues than finding housing for those without and they involve housing, health care, mental health and addiction care, public safety, and civil rights. They don't fall along party lines.
You all know I love this city and state. In the early days of the 2019-2020 legislative session, I sense an optimism on both sides of the aisle and the various perspectives within. Let's not shy away from these issues. We may have set aside our boldest proposals on the choo-choo and water tunnels, but we can't afford to be anything but bold on confronting the issues that those of us who work near Kay Street as residents or visitors regularly. Be as bold as we can be--it's good for humans and it's good for business.
Oh, the speech? With a little help from my friends:
More and #CAKEDAY after the jump...
SD15 (San José): While I heard otherwise last week, former Santa Clara County supe is not running. Some may see Ann Ravel's (D) decision to jump in to partially reflect that of the popular former supe's action.
THIS AGAIN: Is Kamala Harris black enough? Politico's Christopher Cadelago looks at the debate over Kamala's "blackness":
"Harris' decision to sit for extended radio interviews with black hosts at the outset of her run is part of a broader strategy for the half-Jamaican, half-Indian former prosecutor. It's designed to give her the chance to directly confront the uncomfortable and offensive internet memes about her personal life before they can metastasize among voters, three advisers to Harris said.
In recent days, Harris has parried skepticism over everything from claims to her black heritage to her decision to marry a white man — bluntly putting down markers on nuanced topics to help inoculate her from false critiques with answers that also illuminate how she views her own identity."
Now folks are trying to create a timeline of when she smoked pot and the music that was on the air at the time. Come on folks, drop it like it's hot. Clinton likely inhaled more than once. Obama likely did more than pot. I don't know if Cheney slalomed as portrayed in Vice, but there must be some veracity. I remember that I first listened to Metallica as a drama geek at Valencia High. Beyond that, I have no concept of how the music I like lines up with my life. Except the great Good Will Hunting soundtrack. That was 1L year.
I told Alexa to play Snoop, and Willie Nelson and Snoop are singing "Roll me up and smoke me when I die." Talk about mixed-race Americana.
Remember, Barack Obama's black-white parents could not have married had they desired to in 17 states when Loving v. Virginia was handed down ruling anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional. That unanimous ruling was authored by Earl Warren, the former California governor. As attorney general, Warren enforced Franklin Delano Roosevelt's executive order 9066, which led to the incarceration of Japanese-Americans on the west coast. Later, Warren would say that was his biggest regret.
A good friend of mine had a constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago. He wasn't black or white, but he had been editor of the Harvard Law Review. Oh, he had been the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review. That also means that he was the first black-white mixed-race editor of the Harvard Law Review.
The country changes legally but not socially. Some whites see a mixed-race person as "the other," as they did with that law professor, Barack Hussein Obama. Some from other races see a mixed-race person as "the other." In Kamala's case, some blacks may see her as something other than black and some Indian-Americans may see her as "other." To make it more complicated, she is Tamil Indian, a small minority in the country that still has strong caste, ethnic, and language divides.
I have significant disagreements with some of Kamala's past policy-oriented actions. But that is all that she should be judged on--not how she pronounces words, not what music she listens to, and not what schools she did or didn't go to.
Having said that, presidential candidate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand should not have eaten fried chicken with a knife and fork in South Carolina. Presidential Candidates Food 101:
No knives and forks with:
Slurping encouraged with most Asian soups if there are noodles present. Matzo balls are not noodles.
It's al pastor, pronounced awl past-tore.
Don't pull food off a cart passing, except at some dim sum places. Yank Sing in SF is not one of them.
I'm sure there are plenty of others, but I am too hungry to write more and the hamsters tell me that it is time to go.
#CAKEDAY: Happy birthday to Jessica Bartholow, Rafael Elizalde Jr., and Gary Link!
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