Posted October 1, 2007 in News


The controversy continues over the safety procedures–or lack of them–that were used in the battle against last October’s tragic Esperanza wildfire, which claimed the lives of five firefighters. Obviously, everybody wants firefighters to have the best possible equipment and policies, and I’m glad OSHA is around to make sure that employers live up to their responsibility to "provide safe and healthful workplaces for their employees." Then again, that was a fuckin’ wild fire.


With so much of today’s politics boiling down to knee-jerk posturing–with the emphasis on the jerk–it was inspiring to watch the obvious soul-searching by Claremont council member Sam Pedroza last week as he wrestled with the decisive vote he was about to cast on the issue of permitting medical marijuana clinics in the city. Actually, Pedroza never mentioned his soul, which was kind of refreshing, too, in this era of holier-than-thou-ism. "My brain is saying that this isn’t going to work in our city," said Pedroza, "and my heart is saying: ‘What a missed opportunity [if we don't allow] marijuana to help our real sick people.’" So one medical marijuana clinic will be permitted in Claremont. And there you have it: a marijuana story in which I did not make a cheap and obvious joke about the munchies. That’s the most refreshing of all.


On the other hand, during the long debate over selling marijuana to alleviate the pain of terminal cancer patients, there was this public comment from Claremont resident Mina Orr: "For those who are dying, why do they have to drag others also to an early grave by promoting the use of marijuana?"







Banning’s Sean McCaffrey, who doctors suggested ought to take a year to rehabilitate the shoulder he separated in a pay-per-view cage-fighting match in Laughlin last March, gets back into the ring … uhhh, cage … at the Soboba Casino in Hemet. McCaffrey, who is 42, tells the Banning Record Gazette that "right now I feel like I am in the best shape of my life," which maybe tells you something about the kind of life this already-a-grandfather has lived. Or maybe it just tells you something about the responsibility that comes with being a hero to the people of Banning. Check out this entry on the forum from a Banning shutterbug called Schrackman: I bet you folks didn’t realize the talent we have here in this edge-of-the-desert town we call Banning, did ya? Heck, even Susan Olsen (Cindy Brady of the Brady Bunch) is from our area (though born in Santa Monica). Well, here’s another one … Sean McCaffery. The guy is amazingly strong for his size; he’s only a little bit bigger and taller than me, but his arms are a lot huger than mine and he’s got only about 1% body fat. He used to have a big drug problem and quite a few run-ins with the law, but he got religion, got clean, got married, and had kids. Sitting next to him is Bob Rochelle, an acquaintance of mine through the Chamber of Commerce. I didn’t know it until today but I learned he’s a former professional basketball player back from the early 60s and was once named Cosmopolitan’s most eligible bachelor. He’s now a real estate broker and land developer here in Banning. Bob is nearly 70 years old, and would you believe kept up with Sean the other day when he did his cardio workout! Behind Sean is his brother (forgot his name), who is equally buffed and spars with his brother to help him train for fights. Despite their rough and tough looking exterior, these guys have a heart of gold." After all of that, I don’t even want to know if McCaffery won the cage fight. If he didn’t, it might break my heart.


As the countdown continues for Wednesday’s planned liftoff of the latest flight of the space shuttle Endeavor at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, the folks at Beaumont City Hall are involved in a similar scramble of last-minute preparations for the big flight–which will include local heroine Dr. Tracy Caldwell, a graduate of Beaumont High. Caldwell is known as a "mission specialist 1," which sounds pretty impressive, especially if that’s on a 1-being-best scale. Caldwell’s 11-day trip sounds like a space-age episode of Sanford & Son–hauling up a chunk of a truss that’s being used to add on to the Space Station, as well as 5,000 pounds of supplies including food, clothing, scientific experiments and spare parts. They’ll be coming back with 5,000 pounds of garbage. And the big plans at Beaumont City Hall for observing this historic moment by one of its native daughters? They’re having a janitor wheel in a TV set.


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