Posted June 5, 2008 in News


It’s the day after Memorial Day, and did you notice that this year people seemed to take the holiday a little more seriously than usual? Over the years this day—originally set aside for meditating on the cost of war—has become better known as the Unofficial Start of Summer. How shallow! Without a second thought we’ve gotten in our cars and headed to friends homes for cookouts, or down to the beach to begin working on our tans, or up to the mountains or out to the deserts. Not so much this year. This year we thought a little more deeply about what Memorial Day has truly meant to us over the years, what it foreshadows for us as we move into the future—and we wondered: Can you even have summer with gas prices over $4 a gallon?



Congressman Joe Baca knows what Memorial Day really means to him, and that comes through loud and clear in legislation he introduces to recognize members of the Armed Forces from the Inland Empire and their families—and in the prepared statement he releases to the news media. “As Americans, we must do all we can to recognize this profound service, and thank these courageous individuals,” says Baca, a Democrat from Rialto. “My resolution would bring Congressional recognition to the military men and women of the Inland Empire, while also encouraging everyone to show our support and thanks for the sacrifices they make.” Reading Baca’s statement is a true reality check. It hits you like a shot to the gut—a shot that reveals how self-servingly he’s using the lives of our servicemen to promote himself . . . a shot that, like the best shots to the gut, makes you want to throw up.



Lakers, Lakers, Lakers.



We still don’t know what the San Bernardino County district attorney was looking for last month when its office sprung a surprise raid on the office of county tax assessor Bill Postmus. It makes me feel icky, though. Postmus is a still-young-but-longtime political operative who carries the stench of ulterior motive wherever he goes—and I still can’t figure out why a guy voluntarily goes from being a County Supervisor to a County Assessor. There are rumors that district attorney’s office investigators and the county grand jury are looking into whether the assessor’s office has been illegally used for political activity, and excuse me for a moment while I tend to believe them. The Riverside Press-Enterprise is more professional than that. More industrious, too. It has filed suit to unseal the search warrant that the D.A. filed so it could carry off documents and computers from Postmus’ office. That request was granted by one court, and then today it was temporarily rescinded by another. But the P-E has promised to keep pushing—and we know exactly what it is looking for: freedom of information, as guaranteed by the very First Amendment to the United States Constitution. I don’t feel quite so icky, anymore.



Neal T. Baker dies at his home in Redlands—but no, that’s not a lump in my throat. Not exactly. It’s a chunk of eaten-too-fast hamburger from Baker’s Drive-Thru . . . the original, which has been slinging fast food at Highland and Genevieve avenues in San Bernardino since 1952. I’m here to pay tribute to the guy whose spot was inevitably our last stop before we headed up the mountain on ski trips to Big Bear. I nearly pay with my life. I order a burger, don’t chew it enough, and nearly join Baker in the Big Burger Joint In The Sky. At least I woulda died with a good taste in my mouth, although, then again, who wants to show up on the other side with onion breath



People who live amid the mountainous pine-and-scrub of Big Bear Lake—but don’t really want it to look so piney or scrubby—head to their home improvement stores in search of grass seed today, emboldened by a decision by the local Department of Water and Power board to relax restrictions on installing new turf. Grass drinks a lot of water, and Big Bear has a water shortage, but the brainiacs on the water board think the people need to be rewarded for learning to change their ways during several years of public outreach conservation programs—by getting to unlearn it all and not conserve so much, anymore. Can I say they’re all wet? No? Too lame? OK, they’re fucking idiots.



Ellas Bates dies in Jacksonville, Fla., about six months short of his 80th birthday, and the loss of a stocky old man in a black hat, dark glasses and a square-shaped guitar boils down to the fact that the world suddenly doesn’t have Diddley.



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