By Allen David
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23
Just in time to use a lot of holiday food references, the turkeys on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors have take a realistic look at the gravy train their jobs have become and direct the County Administrative Office to draft an ordinance reducing some of the fixin’s in their compensation packages. Over the years, San Bernardino County’s supervisors have improved their own benefits above those in most Southern California counties. This compensation looks even more self-indulgent in the worsening economy. Janice Rutherford, the newest supervisor, introduces the idea of cutting back. Her proposed ordinance would reduce each supervisor’s total compensation by about $54,000 by cutting out county pickups of supervisors’ retirement contributions, county-paid life and disability insurance, cell phone allowance and other freebies. The catch? The ordinance won’t necessarily affect sitting supervisors. They would have to voluntarily take the cuts.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24
Best Thanksgiving ever? Well, for the first time ever I made the turkey, serving as a kitchen puppet for my 83-year-old mother, who had a stroke eight years ago. So let’s just leave it as, at most, the most unforgettable Thanksgiving ever . . . at least until next year, when we find out if I can remember how to do it again.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25
Remember yesterday, when we had that holiday centered around a meal with family and friends and an attitude of gratitude? Black Friday. So, so sad.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26
Officials in Lake Elsinore are reflecting on the joys of sensible money management. A little belt-tightening combined with surprisingly high sales-tax income has given the City-By-The-Sludge a $1.88 million surplus for 2010-11. Officials intend to spend some of that money to improve maintenance of the “lake,” tighten code enforcement, add boat docks and replace the phone system. The remaining $831,000 will be stashed in the reserve account, which already has $8.1 million.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27
Scanning the want ads for a house in Lake Elsinore.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28
Check out this letter to the editor of The Desert Sun in Palm Springs:
“I don’t get how my ‘freedom’ is protected by pilots zooming 500 yards above our homes, shaking the windows, rattling the dishes, scaring dogs and babies, drowning out music, TV and conversation at any given hours of the day or evening.
“Perhaps some official spokesperson from Twentynine Palms, or wherever these guys fly from, could lay out for us innocent taxpayers the strategic value in the fight against Islamist terror provided by low-level flights over resort towns. There are, of course, millions of acres of nearly empty desert right next door that probably look a lot more like Afghanistan.”
“Since that congressional supercommittee hasn’t figured out how to cut the deficit, allow me to suggest they start by limiting aviation fuel allowances for showoffs.”
Alan Weaver, Palm Springs
Wild, isn’t it? I mean, the dude didn’t use an alias! When was the last time anybody actually signed their real name to a letter to the editor?
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29
Imagine somebody asking you—at a party, on the phone, I don’t know: “So, whatcha been doing lately?” And then imagine answering—all indignant, completely passé, whatever: “Serving on the Grand Jury . . . what about you?” I know! So. Totally. Cool. And it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. For example, imagine if you served on the 2012-13 San Bernardino County Grand Jury, which runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. To be eligible for grand jury appointment, applicants only need to be at least 18, a U.S. citizen, and a resident of California and San Bernardino County for at least one year. They’ve got to possess sufficient knowledge of the English language, be in possession of their natural facilities, or ordinary intelligence, of sound judgment and of good character. That’s it! And in case you don’t believe that stuff about sound judgment and good character, get this: By law, elected public officials are not eligible. What would you do? The San Bernardino County Grand Jury is charged by the California Penal Code to investigate all aspects of county, city and special district government, and to hear information on certain criminal investigations. All communications to the grand jury are confidential and the grand jury responds to all signed citizen complaints. Yeah, it does sound like a lot of work—a grand jury volunteer typically works three to five full days per week. Compensation is only $25 per day, plus meals and appropriate mileage . . . but in times like this, maybe that’s more than you’re making now. Think about it. And finally, imagine that, just for once, that you stopped all this imagining you do in place of living your actual life, that instead you applied to serve on the 2012-13 San Bernardino County Grand Jury (online at www.sbcounty.gov/grandjury, by phone at  387-3820, or in person at the county courthouse at 351 N. Arrowhead Ave., Room 200, San Bernardino) before the Feb. 29, 2012 deadline. Yeah, I guess we did take that one step too far.