Oh, Say Can You See The…

Ever since the 2016 election I’ve been trying to figure out how a presidential candidate can win the popular vote, and still lose the election.

So I started doing some research.

And I learned that 2016 wasn’t the first time this has happened – it’s the fifth:

Five Elections (2)

And here’s what else I learned:

The Electoral College is so damn confusing that NOBODY does a good job of explaining it.

Starting with, but not limited to – the Electoral College is not even a college.  It’s a process that elects the president of the United States.


I thought we, the people, elected the president of the United States?

I looked at many websites trying to learn the why and the when and the how-does-this-work.  Here’s one unhelpful bit of information from among many:

The Electoral College insulates the election of the President from the peopleelectoral dysfunction by having the people elect not the person of the President, but the person of an Elector who is pledged to vote for a specific person for President.

Though the ballot may read “John McCain” or “Barack Obama,” you’re really voting for “John Smith” who is a McCain supporter or “Jack Jones” who is an Obama supporter.

But why “insulate the election of the President from the people”?  Why not one person, one vote, period?

Are we too stupid to vote for a president, when it appears we’re capable of voting in all our other elections?

Aren’t all other national and local elections won by popular vote?  Our members of Congress, governors, mayors, various propositions, all by popular vote?

I kept looking for answers.

And while I don’t consider myself a dummy…most of the time…in desperation, I went here, to CNN’s “Electoral College For Dummies”:

Dummies (2) Fixed

And even here, “The Electoral College:  By Dummy For Dummies”:

Dummy 2 (3)

Despite all my reading, it still just didn’t make sense to me.

And I’m not the only one who thinks so.  Here’s an opinion from the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law:

The Founding Fathers favored slaveholders because two-thirds of them were slaveholders.

“The Electoral College is one of the most unique – and undemocratic – elements of the U.S. government.  It was originally included in the Constitution as a means to thwart direct democracy.  Many of the framers of the Constitution were uncomfortable with giving power to the people, and in part devised the Electoral College as a democratic bypass.

“The Electoral College was also designed to protect the influence of slave states.  Under a provision that counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for purposes of representation in Congress, Southern slave states gained outsize influence in selecting the president.

“The system has endured despite the expansion of suffrage and the abolition of slavery.”

Why were many Founding Fathers interested in protecting “the influence of slave states”?  Because a majority of them were slaveholders including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin.

A CNN commentator called the Electoral College,

“This archaic safeguard from our Founding Fathers, created to stop an unfitPull (2) leader from becoming president but having the modern effect of blocking the will of the people…”

And one last opinion:

“…a disaster for a democracy…a total sham and a travesty.”
– Donald Trump, 2012

We don’t – can’t – elect the president by popular vote because the U.S. Constitution says so.  In Article 2, Section 1, the Founding Fathers wrote:

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress…

At this point, wiser heads than mine – and there are legions of them – would say, “We might be better off without the Electoral College, but we’d have to pass a constitutional amendment to make that happen.”

Passing a constitutional amendment is a long and complicated process.  First Congress proposes an amendment – and we all know how often the House and Senate agree to do anything together.  Then the amendment must be ratified by three-quarters of the states.  This can take a copious amount of time.

27thOne example – and granted, it’s extreme, but still – the most recent amendment, the 27th, was ratified in 1992.

It was originally proposed in 1789

And some amendments simply languish in limbo.  The Equal Rights Amendment went to states for ratification in 1972.

It’s still languishing.

So where does that leave us?  Ending the Electoral College and any possibility of electing our president (and vice president) by popular vote seems like the proverbial pipe dream.

I’d just about reached the tearing-out-my-hair point, and then on March 16…

I learned about this:

Healdine Best (2)

The National Popular Vote Bill, or more formally, the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC).

What is it?

Unlike Electoral College explanations, this one is quite straightforward.  The NPVIC is:

An agreement among a group of U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overallNPV-pic cropped popular vote in the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The compact is designed to ensure that the candidate who receives the most votes nationwide is elected president, and it would come into effect only when it would guarantee that outcome.

More important, but easy-to-understand information:

This agreement takes effect only once the participating states together hold a majority of electoral votes (270 of 538) – guaranteeing that the winner of the national popular vote will win an Electoral College majority.

So where are we, in terms of what the states are doing?

State legislators have introduced NPVIC legislation in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

As of March 2019, it has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia.  Together, they have 181 electoral votes, which is 33.6% of the Electoral College and 67.0% of the 270 votes needed to give the compact legal force.

But wait – it gets better.

As of April 3, 2019 the NPVIC has been adopted by two more states.National_Popular_Vote

Together, they have 189 electoral votes, which is 35.1% of the Electoral College and 70% of the 270 votes needed to give the compact legal force.

That means only 81 electoral votes to go.

Here’s out it shakes out:

The green is the 14 states plus the District of Columbia that have enacted the NPVIC; yellow states have pending legislation, and I added in their number of electoral votes:

scan0001 (2) Fixed

We can do this.

The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact was new to me, but it’s not new – the first state, Maryland, passed this back in 2007.

But – and this is critical – three states passed it in March and April, so it could be that momentum is building.

Only 81 more electoral votes.one-person-one-vote-new

So there may be – may be – a light at the end of the Electoral College Confusion Tunnel.

One person – one vote.

Regardless of your political preferences, doesn’t the National Popular Vote make sense?

It makes sense to me.

We can do this.


Book Review: It Started With A Sperm

Publication date:  January 2019book

Review, short version:  Two roses out of four.

Review, long version:

Sperm donation.

It seems an odd way to start talking about a book, but on one level, that’s what it’s about.

A healthy man in his mid-20s goes to a sperm bank.  He’s screened and if deemed acceptable, makes the decision regarding keeping his identity anonymous, or not.

He ejaculates and gets a little pleasure, a little money, leaves and forgets about it.  He may do this more than once, leaving behind millions of sperm each time.

Sil children_01If the man’s sperm is used, he may become the biological father of one, 10, 50 or more children – a 2011 New York Times article cited a donor with 150+ offspring.

Most donors never know how many children are born with their sperm, and if those children discover the donor’s identity, he may or may not choose to connect with them.  The children may or may not discover their half-siblings.

One of those sperm donor children – conceived in the mid-1960s – was Dani Shapiro, author of Inheritance:  A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity and Love.

At first, being a sperm donor offspring wasn’t part of the equation; all Dani knew was that the man she called “Father” was not her biological father.Sperm

She didn’t learn this until she was 54 years old.

I couldn’t empathize with Shapiro, but I could sympathize with her.  She does a good job telling her story in a way that I was with her, step by step, steps backward and steps forward.

From the shock of an Ancestry.com DNA test – done more on a whim than any real curiosity about her history – along the often-painful path of trying to learn who she was and make some kind of sense of it.

Did her mother have an affair?  Did her parents use a sperm donor?  Why did they keep it a secret?  Who was her biological father?  Was he still alive?  Would he want to know about her?  Would he want to know her? 

Shapiro’s discovery split her life into Before and After like an earthquake splits a two-earthquake_03lane highway into two halves.  But a road can be put back as it was; Shapiro’s life could not.

One aspect I liked about Inheritance was Shapiro’s skillful use of similes and metaphors.  After her discovery, the relatives she’d cherished all her life…

“…floated away from me like dozens of life rafts.”

“Our educated guesses had propelled the ride up – but we had no idea what would happen once we hurtled into the wild speed just on the other side of the crest.”

“He had the potential to be an arrow, pulled back tightly in its bow, aimed straight and true.

“I am the black box, discovered years – many years – after the crash.”

While struggling across the minefield of lies and secrets in her own history, Shapiro was also learning more about the process of sperm donation and about others who, like her, “felt exiled from their own identities, set apart by a lack of information.”

That included meeting with Cappy Rothman, M.D., co-founder of California Cryobank, cryobankthe world’s largest sperm bank.  One of the striking aspects of this meeting was Rothman’s complete lack of understanding about the possible – probable – trauma experienced by people making the same discovery that Shapiro did.

Shapiro:  “It can be very traumatic.  To not know.  And then to find out.”

“Why is it traumatic?”  Rothman looked puzzled.  “You’re here, aren’t you?”

Clearly Rothman and others in his business are more interested in making babies – and money – than pondering the unintended consequences of what they’re doing.

No exact numbers are known, but it is known that thousands of babies are conceived through sperm donations every year.Unintended-Consequences-720-480

That’s a lot of unintended consequences ahead.

Such as unknowingly marrying a half-sibling.

So Inheritance is part social commentary.  But it’s also part mystery, part detective story, part tragedy and part…

OK:  No spoilers.

Read it.

And then think about it, too.

Apparently California Cryobank has a line of other products besides sperm.  This collection is called spermabilia.
Cryobank magnet_02


cryobank cards cropped Cryobank t-shirt
Cryobank tote bag Cryobank statue Cryobank item_01
Cryobank magnets_01 Cryobank t shirt Cryobank magnet

Rant:  Dear Abby:  She Asked For Advice And You Gave Her A Helping Of…

Dear Abby:

This is in response to your advice to “Teen Girl Worries About Being At Prom By Herself.”  First, her letter:

Dear Abby:

I’m a high school junior, and my school’s prom is coming up.  I don’t have a date.  I completely understand that I don’t need a date for prom to have fun.  However, within my group of friends, we are organizing who will sit at our 18-person Alone_01 croppedtable, which means I’m the odd one out (eight couples plus me for a total of 17 seats filled).

I know I should try to have fun even if I’m the only one by myself, but the situation makes me feel so alone.  I asked two different guys to go with me:  One ended up going with a different girl and will be sitting at our table.  The other didn’t want to go with me.

How should I handle this situation and be able to have fun at prom, even though I’ll be sticking out as the only person in our entire group who couldn’t manage to find someone to go with – even as a friend?

Anonymous in Pennsylvania

Then you, Abby, offered this useless pie-in-the-sky advice:

Dear Anonymous:

I understand why you would feel alone under these circumstances, but the truth is you WON’T be alone.  You will be attending the prom with 16 friends.

If you concentrate on that, you CAN have a good time hearing music you enjoy, surrounded by friends who are supportive and dancing if you wish to.her shoes_02 cropped

Abby, you are wrong, wrong, WRONG.

Did you try for even just one minute to put yourself in Anonymous’ shoes?  In her overpriced, stiletto-heeled CFM prom shoes?

Prom is a big deal.  It’s not like a casual after-football-game gathering where people go with dates or don’t, and dance or don’t, and hang out.  The point of prom is to get all dressed up, then ooh and ahh over each other’s dresses, then dance and pretend to be grown up and Prom checklist croppedsophisticated.

So Anonymous has invested in a special prom dress and God knows what else (here’s an appalling checklist I found online), and she can do the ooh-ing and ahh-ing part, but then the dancing part comes and…

The other 16 people at her table head for the dance floor and she’s left at the table, alone.

And one of those people leaving the table is the boy she invited, who rejected her.

Abby, did you try for even 10 seconds to put yourself in her chair at that table?

If you had, you’d see where Anonymous’ evening is going.  Oh, maybe she’ll get up during a fast song and dance – alone – and pretend she’s having a great time.  Maybe she’ll head for the bathroom and fuss with her hair, crowded around by other girls fixing their hair…and talking about their dates.prom dress

And those other girls…the ones with dates…don’t ever doubt that they’re snickering at Anonymous.  Remember how catty teenage girls can be?  How mean?  Get two or three of them together and you have a veritable meanness feast.

The movie Mean Girls was based on fact, not fiction.

Eventually the evening will end, and she’ll go home, and take off that special dress, where it will hang in her closet, a silent reproach reminding her every time she sees it:

You went to prom ALONE.

corsage croppedNo pictures of her date sliding a corsage onto her wrist.  No pictures of the group at the table where it’s not glaringly obvious that she was ALONE.  No happy prom memories to retrieve and reflect on when she looks back on her high school years, and she will look back, we all do.

Most of us never forget high school, try as we might.

So here’s my advice to Anonymous:

Stay home.

Remember and applaud yourself for asking not one, but two boys to the prom.  Good for you.  The outcome wasn’t what you wanted, but that took courage, and you have that.life sucks

Save the money you would have spent on a dress (and who knows what else) and spend it on a treat for yourself.  Even better, start a savings account with it.  You’ll never be sorry you started that savings account.

And finally, you’ve experienced how sometimes life sucks.  Everyone deserves to go to prom and have a great time.  It didn’t work out for you, and in life, that happens.

You’ve learned something important that the prom kids didn’t, and in the wisdom department, that puts you way ahead of the prom kids.

way ahead

Hi, Everybody! I’m Ivanka Wanka, The Wind-Up Doll!

Just wind me up and I’ll say anything Daddy wants me to!


·         “My Daddy values talent!  He is colorblind and gender neutral!  He taught me the importance of a strong ethical compass!”

·         “My Daddy said if I wasn’t his daughter, perhaps he’d be dating me!”

·         “My Daddy is everyone’s favorite president!”

Here I am saying, um…something, in front of that painting of What’s-His-Name, everyone’s second favorite president!

Image 1 (2)
Here I am when I was younger, with Daddy.  Daddy is a very affectionate man! Image 2 (2)
Here I am more recently with Daddy.  Daddy is a very affectionate man! Image 3 (2)
Before I became a White House Senior Advisor, I was hard at work, helping to build Trump Tower in New York.

Or is this Trump Tower Moscow?

Image 3A (2).jpg
I’m sure you’ve noticed that sometimes Ivanka Wanka The Wind-Up Doll’s wind-up key is silver and sometimes it’s gold! Image 4 (2)
That’s because I know how to dress for success, just like I talked about in my book, The Trump Card.  Here I am, signing a copy of my book for some lucky fan!

So, what do you think – should I have worn the silver key with this?

Image 5 (2)
And speaking of lucky, I just got back from a trip to Africa, and weren’t those folks lucky to meet me!

Here I am arriving the airport in Africa.  Did you notice that Ivanka Wanka’s wind-up key is smaller?  That’s because it’s…travel size!  Get it?

And look at me, managing my own luggage – how proletarian of me!

Image 6 (2)
First I met with…um…somebody for an interview!  I told her I was visiting Ethiopia and the West Coast…um…I mean Gold Coast, to promote…um…some sort of White House global economic program for women! Image 7 (2)
When I met up with these gals, they began singing and dancing!  Well, what else could Ivanka Wanka The Wind-Up Doll do but join in?  And I’m telling you:  It was my privilege!

If only I still had my Ivanka clothing line, just think how these gals could have improved their economic status by working in the sweatshops!

Wind-Up Dancing (2)
Whew!  All this traveling and dancing and stuff is making Ivanka Wanka tired!  I need my key cranked! Imagea 8A (2).jpg
Here I am on my way to meet Ethiopia’s first female president!  Imagine – a female president in this shithole country?

Hmmmm.  Female president…I’ll have to ask Daddy about that!  “Ivanka Wanka in 2024!” sounds good to me!

Image 9 (2)
I’m home again, home again, and what a relief to get back to my regular-size key!

I suppose we’ll still be hearing about that Mueller thing.  Of course, I knew that there was no collusion.  I knew that there was no obstruction, and this was affirmed in the Mueller report and Attorney General Barr’s subsequent summary.

Pssst!  Daddy?  How’d I do?

Image 10 (2)
And speaking of Daddy, and my Africa trip – I’ve been deeply, deeply inspired by my trip.  And I think he will be as well.

You can see how much Daddy missed his Ivanka Wanka The Wind-Up Doll!

Image 11 (2)
And home to the hubby – that’s What’s-His-Name in the red tie, walking three steps behind me, just where he belongs!

So, what do you think – should I have worn the gold key with this?

Image 11A (2).jpg
This is Ivanka Wanka The Wind-Up Doll saying “Kiss, Kiss!” and “Bye-Bye!”

Seriously, do you like my hair better up – or down?

Image 12 (2)

who's_02 underlined


Parts I and II: I Don’t Mean To Be Mean…

Two recent headlines prompted a reaction in me that, I’ll admit – was not nice.

In fact, I’ll go so far as to say…

I may have been mean.


Part I:

Here’s the first headline; Part II follows:

Poachers (2)

My first thought was, “Wow – that’s one for the underdogs.”

And it’s true:  No matter how mighty the elephant, or how fierce the lions, when faced with the wrong human with the right weapon, all animals are the underdogs.

But it appeared that this time, the underdogs got the better of the top dog.

kruger-national-park-big-5-1080x675The story:  In early April, five men entered Kruger National Park, described as “the largest wildlife conservancy in Africa.”  “Conservancy” meaning “concerned with the preservation of nature, specific species, or natural resources.”

The men allegedly entered the park illegally, armed with unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

According to CNN, “An elephant ‘suddenly’ attacked” one of the alleged poachers and killed him.

Three of his suspected buddies were caught by police, who said the men “claimed to have carried his body to the road so that passersby could find it in the morning.  They then vanished from the Park.”

Police looked for the body, but all they found was a skull and a pair of trousers.  They believe the dead man was eaten by lions.

The three suspects were charged with “possessing firearms and ammunition without a license, conspiracy to poach and trespassing.”

The “conspiracy to poach” charge is based on the fact that poaching – which means killing – is widespread in Kruger National Park and other African parks.  The target is frequently rhinos, more specifically, rhino horns.


The animals are brought down with bullets, the horn is hacked off, and the rhinos are left to bleed to death.

Why are rhino horns desirable?  According to SaveTheRhino.org, rhino horn has been used in Asian medicine

“…for more than 2,000 years and is used to treat fever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders… the horn could also cure snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and ‘devil possession.’”

Never mind that rhino horn is composed mainly of keratin – like our fingernails – and has no known medicinal value:

Horn medicine (2)

So there’s the market.  And what’s the motive?  From another online source:

“On the black market in South Africa, the horn of the white rhino sells for up to $3,000 a pound, but on Asian black markets it wholesales for five to 10 times that, and retail prices can go up astronomically from there.”

savingThe horns of African rhinos weigh on average about three to six and sometimes eight pounds.  Do the math, and one horn is enough to feed a very large family for a very long time.

And the system is efficient; one source suggested that the horn can go from the dead rhino to the Asian market in as little as 48 hours.

So I understand why people kill rhinos, and I understand I should feel sympathy for the family of the man who was killed.

But still…

It is one for the underdogs.

Elephants and lions are more often photographed attacking each other, but in this case – were they a tag team?

Part II:  The March 30, 2019 headline:

Jagger (2)

My first thought was, “Maybe it’s time for old rockers to get rocking chairs?”

And Mick Jagger, 75, isn’t the only one facing health issues; these days there’s practically an epidemic involving old rockers:

  • In early April the rock group Fleetwood Mack (group’s median age: 69) announced appearance postponements and cancellations due to the illness of lead singer Stevie Nicks, 70.

    ozzie 2018 cropped
    Ozzy Osborne, 2018.
  • Around the same time, Ozzy Osborne, 70, postponed all his shows for the rest of the year “as he recovers from an injury sustained while dealing with his recent bout of pneumonia.”
  • In March, Jerry Lee Lewis, 83, cancelled his upcoming appearances following a stroke.
  • In November 2018, Joe Perry of Aerosmith, age 68 (group’s median age: 68), cancelled his fall tour after being hospitalized with breathing problems.
  • Also in November 2018, Bob Seger (73) and his Silver Bullet Band resumed their Runaway Train Tour after Seeger had cancelled the earlier tour dates “due to his vertebrae issue.”

    New Orleans-Jazz Fest
    Bonnie Raitt, 2018.
  • In April 2018, singer Bonnie Raitt, 69, cancelled the first leg of her tour due to an “unspecified medical condition” that would require an “unspecified surgery.”
  • Also in April 2018, Huey Lewis (68) and the News canceled all of their 2018 tour dates after the singer revealed he was suffering from Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder.
  • Yet another in April 2018, the L.A. Guns “announced they are unable to perform” at the upcoming M3 Rock Festival. “No reasons have been given,” but I’m betting “unspecified health issues.”
mick leather pants
Vintage Jagger, leather pants.

Now I, personally, have never hear of the L.A. Guns, described as “sleaze rock veterans.”  But since the group was formed in 1983, I say they also qualify as old rockers.

So what is it with old rockers?  Why doesn’t Mick Jagger just hang up his skin-tight leather pants or Jerry Lee Lewis settle down and marry another 13-year-old female first cousin?

These rockers sure don’t need more “gold” for their “golden years” – not after such long, lucrative careers.

So is it their need for the adulation from their fans?  Fans, perhaps three generations of them?

Can’t you just hear it?

“C’mon, Bradley, it’s time to leave for the Rolling Stones concert!”
“OK, Grandpa!”

Perhaps Paul McCartney (76) spoke for all old rockers when he offered this simple reason for why he keeps on rocking:

paul cropped
Rock Royalty:  Sir Paul, 2018.

“Once you get in front of an audience…it’s a charge.  It charges your battery.  It just turns you up to 11.  So it’s great…And the audiences seem to like it.  So there doesn’t seem to be any reason to not do it.  That’s the thing.”

And maybe my earlier remark about “old rockers and rocking chairs” was mean.

So I’ll say to all rockers, old and otherwise:

_keep_rockin_and_rolling_forever cropped

Rant:  Do The Crime, Pay The Fine?

The California coastline.

It can be…

mendocino-coast smooth_01.jpg
Rugged… …and smooth.
developed.jpg deserted cropped
Developed… …and deserted.
San_Onofre_Nuclear_Power_Plant_t800 beautiful
Ugly… …but mostly beautiful.

And many Californians – to one degree or another – consider themselves the watchdogs of our coastline.

But it’s the California Coastal Commission (CCC) that has the official role of watchdog, and whose mission statement declares it is “committed to protecting and enhancing California-Coastal-Commission-logoCalifornia’s coast and ocean for present and future generations.”

Established in 1972, it’s this “independent, quasi-judicial state agency” that’s charged with considering development applications along some 1,100 miles of California coastline.

And it’s five commissioners of the CCC who violated their own rules, ended up in court and…

But first let’s set the stage.

Sometimes we screw up, and sometimes we’re caught.  And when we are, sometimes a fine is imposed on us.

It might be something as small and simple as a fine for an overdue library book, or complicated and expensive, like a Driving Under the Influence penalty.

Some of us choose to fight the fine, and most who choose to fight – lose.  In the normal course of events, we pay the fine.

The equation so far is,

Formula 1 Final (2)

Not so fast.

Not so – for those five commissioners of the California Coastal Commission.

Those five commissioners screwed up, and were sued in 2016 by San Diego lawyer Cory Briggs, representing the non-profit organization Spotlight on Coastal Corruption (SOCC).  The suit alleged the commissioners failed to properly disclose scores of private meetings and discussions with developers and lobbyists who had matters before them.

The case came to trial, and in February 2018 Los Angeles Times reporter Steve Lopez suggested that, “If the allegations against the commissioners are proved, each could face several millions of dollars in fines.”

How many millions?  Here are the suggested fines, based on the SOCC court papers:

Steve Kinsey:  $5,250,000cha-ching-smaller
Mark Vargas:  $5,625,000
Wendy Mitchell:  $4,500,000
Erik Howell:  $3,600,000
Martha McClure:  $3,150,000

In spring 2018 a judge in California Superior Court found all five commissioners guilty.

Instead of that “several million dollars,” the commissioners were fined as follows:

Name/Current or Former Member



Steve Kinsey, former member

mark vargas

Mark Vargas, current member


Wendy Mitchell, former member


Erik Howell, current member

Martha McClure

Martha McClure, former member


The judge also ruled that the lawyer, Cory Briggs, was entitled to $930,000 in attorney’s fees, plus there was another $30,000 in court costs to be paid for.

Grand total of fines and fees:  $1 million+.

It’s important to note that attorney Briggs did not sue the California Coastal Commission; the accused commissioners were sued as individuals.

And according to Briggs, each defendant was “individually responsible for the full amount of attorney fees and costs.  You can see the judge wrote for costs and attorneys’ fees, each of the defendants is ‘jointly and severally’ liable.  It means collectively and individually you owe the money.”

Repeat equation:

Formula 1 Final (2)

Justice served.  Right?


The commissioners were guilty, but were not in the “Do the crime, pay the fine” mode.


In September 2018 reporter Lopez revealed that a pretrial decision had been made by the CCC to indemnify the commissioners against liability for payment if they lost.

Do you know what “indemnify” means?  I didn’t.  Here it is:

Indemnify:  To secure (someone) against legal liability for their actions.

So if the five commissioners found guilty didn’t have to pay…

Who did?

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, in a letter to lawmakers in early April, California’s Department of Finance advised that the Coastal Commission had requested an “Unanticipated Cost Funding Request,” and that the $1 million+ “come from the state’s General Fund.”

Wait.  What?

Let’s take this one costly step at a time:

The California Department of Finance displays its mission statement on its home page.  That mission statement includes the words “responsible resource allocation”:

Finance Dept (2) underlined.jpg

The California Department of Finance also has a “Finance Glossary of Accounting and Budgeting Terms.”  That glossary includes the definition of “General Fund”:

General (2) underlined

There is no way, and I mean NO WAY, that paying the fines, court costs and lawyer fees for five guilty members of the CCC is “responsible resource allocation.”

And it sure isn’t providing funds for “education (K-12 and higher education), health and human services programs, and correctional programs.”

But did you note where the money in the general fund comes from?  Look at the area moneyunderlined in the image above.

Uh-huh.  We taxpayers are on the hook for that $1 million+.

“Absorbed by taxpayers,” as they say.

And it doesn’t stop there.

The five commissioners were represented by the state Attorney General who, even though his side lost, asked the court to order SOCC to pay the Attorney General $649,000 to cover its legal costs.

The judge rejected that request.

So who’s on the hook for that $649,000?


But wait…there’s more.

Attorney Briggs is one busy guy.

Attorney Briggs has filed a second lawsuit against the Coastal Commission, which is still pending.  Our friends in the Finance Department have advised lawmakers that an additional $200,000 will be required to cover costs related to that lawsuit.


I didn’t go into detail about what the five commissioners were accused of, or what the judge decided each commissioner specifically did and didn’t do.

The bottom line is, remember that equation that always seems to work when it comes to you and me?  When we screw up and are fined for it?

For those five California Coastal commissioners…

That equation now reads:

Formula 2 final (2)

Which leaves me poorer, and…

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Good Evening, Everyone, I’m…

…Judy Woodruff and this is the PBS Newshour.

Before we get to our top stories, including:

  • One of the Kardashians was seen leaving a breast augmentation clinic in Tijuana, complaining that the “view was lousy and the food even worse.”
  • North Korea has launched a nuclear missile at Japan.
  • And Half Dome (we have pictures), the granite monolith in Yosemite National Park, has collapsed due to so many climbers poking holes into it with sharp objects.
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(Left) Yosemite’s Half Dome before climbers, and (right) thanks to climbers.

But before those and other stories, here at the PBS Newshour our motto is, “First things first.”  So we’re going to your local public broadcasting station with this very important – and personal – message.

Because it’s time for your local station to piss you off with…

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Hello, everyone!

I’m Maya Repulsive, your host for this KPBS Spring Pledge Drive, here to ask you for money, money and more money.

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Here’s one look…

During this and every pledge drive we put our heads together and decide which of your favorite KPBS programs we’ll interrupt to ask you for money, money and more money.

We also make crucial decisions about which of your favorite programs to not interrupt, but instead cut those programs short by 10 minutes to ask you for – yup, you guessed it:  money, money and more money!

Don’t you just hate this?

I can’t tell you how many people stop me on the street every day – and I do mean every day – to tell me, “Maya, I hate pledge drives!”

But never mind that.  Because they also tell me every day – and I do mean every day – “Maya, I love your hair!” and, “Maya, your makeup is just so, like, totally perfect!”

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…and another…

So as a public service to you, our donors, during this pledge drive break I’m going to be sharing some different looks I’ve been trying out – just to keep things lively!

And while I’m doing that, I want you to pick up that phone, call the number on your screen – strategically placed so as not to cover my face – and pick a nice, round number to donate to KPBS.  Say…$100,000?

“OMG, Maya” you might be saying.  “That’s a lot of money!  What do I get for that?”

And I’m here to tell you exactly what you’ll get.  With your continued support, you’ll have the ongoing pleasure – and I do mean pleasure – of seeing me, Maya Repulsive, on The Maya Repulsive Show, right here on KPBS, weekday mornings from 2 to 3am.

But wait – there’s more:  Gifts!  When you give us money, we give you gifts!

And for that $100,000 you’ll receive this genuine – and genuinely cool – KPBS license plate frame!

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Uh…guys?  Can we get a bigger picture of that?

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There we go!

And there you go!  For just $100,000!

And think how proud you’ll be, displaying your support of KPBS with this license plate frame on your soccer mom SUV, or that car you stole or…or whatever!

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…and another…

So grab that phone and call the number on your screen right now.  And be sure to check out my next new look while you’re doing that.

Right now you’re probably thinking, “Maya, maybe I can do more than $100,000.”  And you’re a “can-do” person and I know you can do more.  And so can we.

When you cough up – I mean donate – $500,000, to show our appreciation, you’ll receive both the KPBS license plate frame and…

This gorgeous KPBS travel mug!  With our very own new and improved KPBS logo!KPBS_240_LogoTravelMug cropped

Are you getting the synergy here?  You’re driving around in your soccer mom SUV or maybe you’re in a car chase with the San Diego police in that car you stole – or whatever – proudly displaying your KPBS license plate frame and sipping your fav beverage from your KPBS travel mug!

Not just anyone can have that experience!  But you can!  How?  Just pick up that phone, call the number on your screen – being sure to check out my next look – and make that donation now of just $500,000.

That’s right!  Just $500,000 and you’ll be stylin’ all around town…well, unless you’re in jail because the police caught you in that car chase.

And finally – yes, generous viewers, all good things, even pledge drives, must come to an end – when you really open your heart and your wallet and donate $1 million dollars, you’ll receive…

And I hope you’re sitting down because this is so amazing…

You’ll receive KPBS’ ultimate gift:

The Maya Repulsive Tote Bag!

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This beautiful tote bag is imported, probably from our trading best friends, those darn Chinese.  It’s made of water-resistant fabric with full grain leather trim, and can tote just about anything.

But the best part – obviously – is this exclusive collection, and I do mean not seen anywhere else, of five, yes five, Maya Repulsive “looks,” some of which I’m previewing for you tonight.

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…and yet another!

Wouldn’t you give just anything to be the proud owner of this amazing Maya Repulsive Tote Bag?  Well, you’ve come to the right place for that giving!

So sell your car, your clothes – hell, sell your house!  And make that $1 million pledge to KPBS right now.  And before you know it, all your friends will be green with envy when they see you totin’ the Maya Repulsive Tote Bag.

Our volunteers are standing by to take your call – and your money, money, money – so call the number on your screen and donate now.

And now we return to your regular programming…um…what were we airing?  The PBS Newshour?

We now return to the PBS Newshour…or what’s left of it:

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