The Rundown

By Allen David

Posted April 26, 2012 in News


I visit the website for the Redlands Daily Facts, notice that most of the stories are from other members of the sucky ring of William Dean Singleton newspapers, then click on a story about a councilmember opting not to run for re-election and realize it is from 2010. Suddenly, I get a pop-up greeting: “Welcome. Thanks for being a frequent visitor of! We’re glad you enjoy the site.” I close the page. Never going back.






This year our family’s annual weekend campout is at Jurupa Valley Regional Park. It’s nice. On the other side of campground, between an unrestored VW Bug with a manikin in the back seat and collection of vintage picnic baskets for sale, was a man wearing overalls, thick-lensed glasses and a mouthful of twisted, dirty teeth. “This is my ‘trailer trash’ theme,” Robert Boudreau of Riverside explained of his costume. “It’s one of 29 camping themes I have. But I’m downsizing. I have a two-bedroom house and I can’t get in the second bedroom.” I asked him if he lives alone. He looked at me twice, shook his head and replied, “I think you know the answer to that.”


Some of us are old enough to remember the first Earth Day—April 22, 1970—which is said to have triggered the modern environmental movement. Yeah, “triggered” is a good way to describe it, because if we remember correctly . . . hmmm . . . it was less than two weeks before the Ohio National Guard shot dead four students at Kent State . . . two years after the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy . . . we could go on and on. But it was also a few months before Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin OD’d . . . and, well, you get the idea—it was an era when a lot of important people were getting into the Earth. By the end of 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency was founded, the Clean Air Act was passed and the voting age was lowered to 18. In 1972, the Clean Water Act became law and in 1976, California voters approved Prop. 20 to create the Coastal Commission. That’s a lot! And what are this era’s activists doing in Long Beach to make the 2012 Earth Day something memorable? I’m invited to Long Beach, where the Occupy group is gathering people on the beach to form a People Peace Sign, pose for photographers, then head over to Bixby Park to party. Instead, I’m walking to the top of Mt. Rubidoux.


Rodney King is on the radio, giving a brief interview on KPCC-FM to promote this week’s release of his memoir, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption, and he sounds better than I’ve heard him over the 20 years that he has occasionally come across my radar. He sounds about as happy as I feel, until I learn he still has nightmares about the night four LAPD officers beat and Tasered him until they were exhausted—and then one of them made a joke about “batting practice.” Then I remember the morning I woke up to that video, and wondered “What the f@*k?” King is 47 years old and lives in Rialto. His $3.8 million payout from the City of LA is long gone, but his right cheek is still numb from the baton blows. What the f@*k?


A one-acre land swap between the National Park Service and the Veterans of Foreign Wars—negotiated through an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union—will permit the Mojave Cross to be re-erected atop Sunrise Rock in a remote part of the Mojave Desert, where it can get back to memorializing dead veterans like it began doing in 1934. Nice that everything could be worked out. But that doesn’t mean the Mojave Cross shouldn’t have been taken down when it was discovered that the religious symbol was on federal land. We don’t do that here in the U.S. of A., and it was disturbing to hear veterans screaming about a restriction on their freedom. Apparently, they never knew what they were fighting for. And speaking of restrictions, now that the VFW owns the land around the cross, it intends to fence it off.


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