#takeaknee I’m an intermittent rebel, but I think I was first: I didn’t stand up for the national anthem at a Major League Baseball game and I almost got attacked

At the time, my reasons for not standing were different than the initial reasons why football players knelt during the national anthem, but these silent protests have become the subject of national attention — this time, because Trump has launched a days-long tirade at players who have joined the movement.

A year ago, it was Colin Kaepernick’s act of kneeling to protest police treatment of African Americans that captured the most attention, in 2017, it appears to be Trump’s unconventional response to the act.

It’s all about freedom: of speech and of thought.

My story:

It was in the early 1990s. I’m not a huge fan of baseball, but somebody had given me a couple of tickets to a Padres game and I thought it would be something my then thirteen-year-old son would enjoy.

After all this time, I can’t remember what team we were playing, but since my son was an avid collector of baseball cards and knew everyone’s stats by heart, it was a big deal to him.

I’m an intermittent rebel. Most of the time I comply with socially accepted behavior norms but sometimes I don’t, and there is really no rhyme or reason why I’ll do something one minute and turn into Pussy Riot the next.

Mercurial is a good word to describe me.

Or batshit crazy. Your choice. Whatever.

On this particular day, I was feeling especially contemplative and introspective. Or pissy, or just contrary, or all of the above…

When it was time for the national anthem and everyone was asked to stand, I stayed seated. My newly teenaged-don’t-make-waves-and-certainly-for-heaven’s-sake-don’t-call-attention-to-the-fact-that-he’s-out-in-public-with-his MOM son stood when everyone else did and then sat back down.

He was confused.

He asked me why I was sitting. I replied that I didn’t like to be told what to do, that I was neither a sheep nor a lemming, that my love or respect for our country had nothing to do with standing simply because everyone seemed to expect it, and putting my hand over my heart was rather offensive to me and reminded me of similar blind devotion to Hitler.

As far back as elementary school, I decided not to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance because I felt it personally offensive in ways I couldn’t comprehend nor verbalize at the time, but I had a strong feeling that it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Of course I got in trouble, sent to the principal’s office and all that; parents called, and my lawyer dad told the administration that it was my RIGHT and my decision whether I chose to participate in that activity and he supported me. I appreciate that he advocated for my free will even at that age.

The almost but not yet completely drunk people sitting behind us started yelling at me to stand up. That created enough ruckus so that others started paying attention to the situation. The crowd turned ugly. Everyone was yelling at us to stand and accusing me of being a bad mother. Someone threw popcorn.

I told my son that this was a perfect example of what I was explaining to him, that if he felt like he needed to go along with the peer pressure crowd mentality — that was his individual decision, but he should ask himself if he was standing because he wanted to honor his country or because he was being bullied into it?

What was his motivation? What was his intention?

He told me I was a troublemaker and I embarassed him.

With love, I told him I was sorry that I made him feel badly, but that I really wanted him to grow up to be someone that thought for himself and made his own life decisions based on his inner voice of that was right and wrong for HIM.

Did my NOT standing make me LESS of an patriotic American? IT DID NOT. I am not a fan of public displays of rote allegiance.

As soon as as the game started, everyone forgot about it and that’s how it ended, but for a brief moment, I thought things were going to escalate into some sort of overt hostility.

Intermittent or not, I am a proud social protester: when I fought to add wolves to the Endangered Species List, fought against abhorrent puppy mills, and when I stood proudly with my sisters and brothers to protest in support of women’s rights last January.

I’m proud that I stand up (or sit down) for what I believe in.

Not standing for the national anthem is a legal form of peaceful protest, which is a First Amendment right.

There is a method to my seeming madness…it’s a foundation of my belief system of mindful parenting

Mindful parenting means taking responsibility for as well as being present with our own feelings and actions to model this thoughtful insightfulness to our children. This creates a level of self-discovery and self-awareness and self-control over our moment-to-moment reactions. Instead of a negative, punitive connotation, discipline does not only refer to the guiding or teaching of a child, but begins with self and builds individuation.

Although this was my parenting philosophy that I pretty much put into practice instinctually with my son 36 years ago, you can now read about one progressive and loving approach here: Resources for Infant Educarers® (RIE®) https://www.rie.org/

To put it simply, I wanted my son to think for himself, to question authority, to use his brains and his heart to navigate through life, and I’m glad to see that he and DIL are raising my grandson with that same sort of loving mindfulness.

And finally…

This is how President Obama reacted (via Huffington Post):

Almost exactly a year ago, Obama offered a nuanced insight into Kaepernick’s protests.

“Well, as I’ve said before, I believe that us honoring our flag and our anthem is part of what binds us together as a nation,” Obama said during a CNN town hall in September 2016. “But I also always try to remind folks that part of what makes this country special is that we respect people’s rights to have a different opinion. We fight sometimes so that people can do things that we disagree with … As long as they’re doing it within the law, then we can voice our opinion objecting to it, but it’s also their right.”

″I think that it’s also important for us to recognize that sometimes out of these controversies, we start getting into a conversation, and I want everybody to listen to each other,” Obama continued. “I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing. But I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”

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“Carlsbad Referendum Signatures Stun Caruso, City Council Pals”

This is a great article in the San Diego Free Press about the corruption going on my little beach town. We are #CarlsbadStrong


Carlsbad Referendum Signatures Stun Caruso, City Council Pals

Strawberry Field Owner’s Campaign Donations Revealed

via Citizens for North County Facebook

By Richard Riehl

It must have been quite a shock for L.A.’s Caruso-affiliated executives to see the stack of signed petitions delivered to the Carlsbad city clerk’s office last Thursday. The 9,000 signers of the referendum petition are calling for a public vote on the developer’s plan for a lagoon-view shopping center, as promised in the title of the initiative, Measure to be Submitted Directly to the Voters.

When the Carlsbad city Council unanimously approved his plan on August 25, Caruso had already spent nearly $3 million on signature gatherers and a blizzard of glossy, full-color mailers to persuade 20,000 Carlsbadians that his plan to build a shopping mall was all about saving the Strawberry Fields.

The day after the council voted, a grassroots group, Citizens for North County, announced its plan to launch a referendum drive. Caruso had to redouble his marketing campaign. But this time his mailers, accompanied by daily prime time TV ads, featured headshot photos of and quotes from all five city Council members, as well as the owner of the Strawberry Fields. Each repeated the lie that signing the referendum would destroy the Strawberry Fields, despite the promise of Prop D to preserve them, passed by voters in 2006. The Caruso mailer included a detachable, postage-paid card to return to the city clerk for signers of the referendum to have their names withdrawn.

About 700 signers chose to do so. Caruso relied on the confusion caused by his two dishonest campaigns to “Save the Strawberry Fields,” the first by signing an initiative, the second by refusing to sign a referendum, to keep residents from signing anything. Heads he wins, tails we lose.

While the strange bedfellows of big-money and elected officials urged us to turn down our right to vote, the citizen-led referendum drive soldiered on, relying on social media to generate hundreds of volunteers to station themselves in city parks and other public places to collect 9,000 signatures in 30 days on a paltry $9,000 budget. That’s 300 signatures a day at a dollar apiece.

It took 90 days for Caruso’s professional signature gatherers to snag 20,000 signatures. With a $3 million budget, that amounts to only 222 signatures a day at $150 each.

I couldn’t help but wonder why the city Council not only refused to put the Caruso plan up for a vote in a special election, but even to delay their decision for 30 days to enable residents to be more fully informed. The August 25 meeting was packed with dissenters. You’d think elected officials would be more responsive to their constituents.

That made me curious about campaign contributions, so I went to the city’s website, where I found, among Mayor Matt Hall’s financial supporters, the name of James Ukegawa, the man you see posing in the Strawberry Fields on Caruso’s mailers and in his TV ads. He’s identified as a “Carlsbad Strawberry Company Farmer” on the mayor’s filing form, stamped by the city clerk on July 30, 2014. Ukegawa’s $5,000 contribution is dated June 7, 2014.

The “Strawberry Company Farmer” is identified on Michael Schumacher’s campaign finance filing as the “Owner of Aviara Farms.” He made two contributions to Schumacher’s campaign, one for $2,500 on September 12, 2014, the other for $1,760 on October 29, 2014.

Mayor Hall and Council member Schumacher had $9,260 good reasons between them to support their favorite constituent.

As I perused the many other contributions to the campaigns of these two candidates, I noted the number of out of town real estate companies, building and construction firms, and for some unknown reason, the special generosity of the executives of the Rancho Santa Fe Grand Pacific Resorts. I’ll leave that mystery to an investigative reporter, if there are any left after the collapse of print journalism.

The willingness to accept significant contributions from out of town businesses shows the hypocrisy of elected officials who blame “outside interests” for the success of a referendum drive. Click here to find the city’s web page disclosing campaign contributions.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters has 30 days, not including weekends, to validate the referendum’s signatures to see if there are 6,523, the magic number that will force the city Council to either hold a special election or put Caruso’s plan on the ballot in the 2016 general election.

A few years ago, Carlsbad boasted of a $50 million reserve fund, I’m guessing it’s grown substantially since then. The city says the cost of a special election would be $500,000. Mayor Hall says it would be a waste of money. Considering what’s at stake, I’d say it’s a bargain.

http://sandiegofreepress.org/2015/09/carlsbad-referendum-signatures-stun-caruso-city-council-pals/

After his 30-year career in public education, Richard Riehl began his second life as a freelance journalist, beginning as an op-ed columnist for San Diego’s former daily newspaper, North County Times. During the 2008 Presidential campaign he edited the Huffington Post’s daily, Roadkill: OffTheBus’s Ongoing RoundUp of the Awkward, the Ugly, and the Just Plain Weird. His articles have appeared in the San Diego Reader’s BlogDiego, Carlsbadistan-Taming The Wilds of Carlsbad-by-The-Sea, and the OsideNews.com. Check out his blog at The Riehl World (theriehlworld2.blogspot.com), email him at richard_riehl@yahoo.com, and follow him on Twitter, @RichardRiehl.

Something Sorta Stinks in Carlsbad

Agua Hedionda Lagoon is poised to become the backdrop for yet another nauseating acquisitive gluttony of commerce in an outdated mode of brick and mortar.

This is NOT what Carlsbad wants OR needs.

I stand in firm opposition to Caruso Affiliated 85/15 plan to build a Nordstrom-anchored monstrosity of a shopping center on the lagoon at the strawberry fields, in complete and utter disdain for its ecological and environmental importance to the sensitive ecosystem.

boatonbeachIn SoCal, we live very close to a lagoon called Agua Hedionda, (not the uber-romantic tropical blue lagoon in Kauai where my husband and I spent a magical pre-honeymoon in 1993) but this little lagoon of ours was named by the first Spanish explorers. The odor they reported might have come from a nearby Indian village, a sulphur spring, or possibly from decayed matter on the shores of the lagoon.

If you’ve ever been stuck in the muck, which is like quicksand in some spots, or if you’ve tried to wash the dried mud off a dog, you’d know it has a distinctively pungent odor.

Stinking waters for sure.

Still, it’s important historically for the Kumeyaay Native Americans AND the environment, and many of us are disturbed and concerned about the rumblings of development and a shopping center.

The developers seem to be trying to circumvent the standard process and place the development directly to the voters through the initiative process.

Hmm…something else smells in Carlsbad, don’t you agree?

Did you know that in November 2000, Agua Hedionda was designated as a critical habitat for the tidewater goby?

The San Diego Reader published a compelling article about this potential development: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2015/may/29/stringers-carlsbad-strawberry-fields-development/

From the article: Some say the initiative tactic used by big developers is a ploy to sway a generally uninformed electorate; or, in some cases, hoodwink them with slick or misleading campaigns. Additionally, councilmembers usually get a little nervous when angry mobs of voters show up at public hearings, usually opposed to large-scale development projects. Thus, councilmembers are more likely to follow public sentiment and vote against a project.

But Carlsbad residents should have seen this coming ten years ago, when voters passed another initiative, Proposition D. The measure set aside as permanent open space 300 acres along Cannon Road, which included some of the strawberry fields and the hills above the lagoon. Some Carlsbad activists say voters were duped, thinking open space was a good thing, but not realizing the rest of land could then be rezoned as commercial.

Learn about Prop D: http://www.smartvoter.org/2006/11/07/ca/sd/prop/D/SierraClubWalk4

Just because some of Carlsbad voters may have been mislead by the 2006 Prop D’s real motives is no reason to give up and allow this shopping center on the lagoon under the power lines.

And come ON, do we really need MORE traffic congestion?

SierraClubWalk3

While I dug around for more information, I discovered an interesting read from 1976, California Department of Fish and Game U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s coastal wetlands report, The Natural Resources of Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

I discovered some interesting data about how important is was — and IS —  to protect the lagoon’s rich environment and heritage; to preserve and enhance its natural resources.

Read it here: http://aquaticcommons.org/552/1/natural_resources_of_agua_hedionda_lagoon.pdfagua hedionda1976

Excerpts from the study:

Long-range resource management in the southern California lagoons and estuaries must be based on an understanding of the interactions of ecological factors involved, including human use.

PROBLEMS AND CONFLICTS OF USE
Development
The greatest threat to the present status of Agua Hedionda Lagoon and its environs is the continuing pressure for development of the lagoon and its watershed. The demand is for three principal types of development: 1) recreational 2) residential 3) industrial.

The City has prepared a very good and quite complete environmental impact report (EIR) that defines land uses in light of the environmental information available on not only the natural resources of the lagoon, but also on water and air quality, agriculture, aquaculture, archeological sites, energy conservation measures, as well as noise, traffic, visual resources, utilities, community services and recreation facilities. The EIR on the specific plan also speaks well to the relationship between local, short-term uses of the resources as opposed to preservation, maintenance and enhancement of the long-term productivity of the environment of the lagoon area. The specific plan EIR also enumerates the environmental effects which cannot be avoided if the project is implemented. These include: 1) a decrease in the amount of open space, 2) alteration of natural land forms, 3) removal of a small portion of the remaining natural vegetation, 4) displacement of some of the resident animal populations and partial destruction of their habitat, 5) an increase in erosion potential through vegetation cover removal, an increase in demand for recreational facilities, etc., 6) some problems in water quality maintenance and 7) increased human encroachment on sensitive natural and scenic areas. The EIR reflects the City of Carlsbad planning department’s awareness of and concern for the area’s natural resources. For the EIR also contains many sound mitigation measures for the impacts on the environment identified in the report. The EIR went into the review process in June 1976, and will be reviewed by several appropriate agencies, including the Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


Which brings us to right back to that odor, the stench of back door politics at work.

A couple of groups have emerged to help organize those of us who not only do NOT want our city to be further sullied by unnecessary development that’s killed most of what made Carlsbad unique, but is troubled by Caruso’s attempts to bypass the city’s usual planning and public hearing process and circumvent city municipal codes.

rosecarlsbad copyWhat can we do?

  1. GET INVOLVED!
  2. Send the Carlsbad City Council a PINK ROSE and urge them to let the people vote on the Caruso Affiliated Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan. (1200 Carlsbad Village Dr. Carlsbad, CA 92008) (I brought a rose with a note attached to the council offices but the receptionist didn’t really didn’t want her picture taken as she accepted it.)
  3. Join Carlsbad Locals Against The Agua Hedionda 85/15 Plan https://www.facebook.com/pages/Carlsbad-Locals-Against-The-Agua-Hedionda-8515-Plan/782521181866712?fref=ts
  4. Join Citizens For North County http://www.citizensfornorthcounty.org/
  5. Attend protests, meetings.
  6. Vote/recall these politicians out of office!