Bitch Fest Summer 2014: 16 local and regional gripes

Pointing out what really matters and things that just bug us has proven to be effective in getting rid of un-needed anxiety. Such catharsis helps us avoid expensive and unnecessary trips to see therapists to sort out one’s problems. So for my own mental health, here is my Bitchfest for Summer 2014. These are my Sweet 16 current gripes that are not listed in any degree of importance or depravity.

1. The dreadful music at my health club: They play a continuous/monotonous Pandora exercise tape which appears to be a combination of pop, rap, R &B, Disco, and chanting,  accompanied by horrendous lyrics. Listening to this can make anyone a little crazier. The worst part is when Fitness Evolution patrons complain at the front desk they are always told “my hands are tied as changing the station is against company policy” These are words no card carrying rugged individualist ever wants to hear.

safeway-willow-pass-concord-ca

2. Having to regularly patronize the over shopped Safeway on Willow Pass in Concord. The place is constantly busy with long lines coupled with frequently running out of featured products.   This is caused because this place is the closest store that can be reached by the thousands of residents of North Concord who have no place other than Mom & Pops to purchase groceries. Too bad Fresh & Easy (who are still paying rent) never opened at the Olivera & Port Chicago strip mall.

3. Demagogic remarks made in the Public Comment period at the start of Concord City Council meetings. The worst one of late has been by a guy who wants Hispanics to boycott Concord Toyota because his friend apparently could not get a deal to his liking there. As this allegation was in the realm of race relations, it was thoroughly investigated by the higher ups in City government only to find the complaint was without merit.

4. Talking about free speech, political correctness has gone much too far. Those in the public sector and private enterprise as well have to be careful not to offend anyone. Repeating ethnic jokes are often considered a hate crime, calling a dumb person anything but “challenged” is frowned upon and making any reference to race (unless a comedian of that color) is out of the question. Even using the narrative of being senile is distained as this is considered age discrimination. Give me a break and let me go back to the times when jokes often began with a Catholic Priest, Baptist Minister, and a Rabbi………..

5. Why is everyone so concerned with Gluten Free these days? Since when does consuming regular flour have become a fashion issue?   Can anyone remember the days prior to when gluten free was in vogue when  Emergency Rooms were filling up with victims who were overdosing on Wonder Bread? And I thought those who preferred white wine to red because of having fewer sulfites (this is factually not true) were candidates for the funny farm?

6. Using “diversity” as vehicle to offer jobs and services to less qualified individuals. Such a notion is in reality reverse discrimination and is against the law.   Being inclusive is another matter as bringing in new participants to any activity is always welcome.   Trying to legislate this other than when basic civil rights are involved just does not work. Natural is always better. This is why athletic teams have always led the way with improving race relations.

Walmart-Concord-CA

7.  Stop blaming Wal-Mart for everything that is wrong with the world. If the truth be told, the Arkansas based company gives their employees comparable or better pay, medical and medical packages to what many comparable businesses including Macy’s, K-Mart, and Target Stores offer. Much like other successful enterprises such as Microsoft and Apple Computer, Wal-Mart has been put under the microscope by jealous competitors. Not to be forgotten are the “Limousine Liberals” who have urged boycotting the big box retailer while ignoring the needs of low income families who depend on shopping at Wal-Mart to feed their families.

Bitch Fest Continues….

8. Wasting precious resources of Concord City Government needing legal counsel to defend themselves against a few cranks who object to having a non-denominational prayer to be made at the start of City Council meetings. This is especially galling as one of these individuals leading the charge against this practice is a prominent member of the Democratic Central Committee. Since when does being a “progressive” mean acting in such an anti-social manor?

9. Discount cards at super markets, drug stores, and other retail establishments that allegedly give preferential treatment to their clients. In reality, these cards are a thinly disguised tool to track spending habits of consumers to steer them into buying selected products. This same model of taking personal information off the internet for commercial use brings up privacy issues when this data is shared with other companies.

10. Critics of Clayton Valley High Charter, Libbey-Dozier, Northgate, De La Salle, and other successful schools. The people who find fault with these institutions for producing better results than nearby places of learning, should concern themselves more with changing mediocrity into achievement than finding fault with those who are obviously pushing the right buttons. This especially applies to School District administrators who make a living blaming others for their incompetence.

pixieland-concord-ca11. Prices for tickets at Pixieland have gotten so expensive that middle class families can barely afford to take their young children there. When it costs over $ 2.50 per ride (which takes 2 or 3 minutes duration) per person not including adults when required to accompany toddlers, things are getting out of hand. To put things in perspective, it costs a family of 4 to ride all 7 attractions 64 tickets. The total for a family pack (50 tickets) is $ 47.00. When one adds on making other purchases of food, drinks, and souvenirs, going to 6 Flags looks like a bargain.

12. Efficient use of Police Services in Concord. Is it only me who has on numerous occsions witnessed 4 or 5 patrol cars congregating at the scene of an accident or minor crime scene on Clayton Road, Concord Blvd, or Willow Pass? Does back-up really mean multiple officers standing together waiting for an ambulance or tow truck to show up while performing no perceptible function? There may well be legitimate reasons for this practice but it sure looks bad when tax payers drive by who are picking up the tab.

13. Concord American Baseball League having free reign using public facilities when they fail to provide a girl’s softball programs similar to what Pleasant Hill Baseball Association (PHBA) and Junior Optimist Baseball League (JOBL) offer. This is not right. Perhaps it is time for the City to have discussions with Concord American to rectify this omission.

Bitch Bitch Bitch

14. Meat prices have become so high that even the “Rancher’s Reserve” guys can barely afford to purchase beef. This unfortunate condition has been a bi-product of the failed corn crop in the Midwest in 2013 after which the US Government still insisted on manufacturing the gasoline additive ethyenole. As a result corn prices were so high that farmers were forced to slaughter animals resulting in a shortage of product in 2014. This is yet another example of government programs hurting consumers while paving the road to hell with their good intentions.

15. Restaurants have improved dramatically in the area but we still have Mexican eateries serving carne asada (steak) and Japanese establishments beef teriyaki using stew meat which lacks flavor and texture.  These dishes need help. In addition the region is badly in need of more ethnic faire (other than Hispanic and Asian) to add more variety for consumers. Especially AWOL is Greek and Mediterranean places.   I guess the reason for this is such food preparations requires trained chefs who are in short supply in a culinary scene dominated by franchise restaurants.

16. It sounds like a broken down record but such a list should not fail to mention the shoddy run down shopping area of Concord known as Park and Shop. Apparently the multiple ownership of the complex does not allow for redevelopment or to force change to bring this place up to the quality standards of other retailers in the region. It’s not a good thing that when my friend for an April fools prank suggested that a nuclear power plant be constructed in the parking lot of Park and Shop  and someone remarked “I did not know they had enough room to build one there.”

Bonus Bitch

The Oakland Alameda Coliseum: God that place is dreadful.  I feel sorry for the fans of the Oakland A’s and Raiders who have to journey to this locale to watch their favorite teams play.  The food served there is expensive, stale, and not even up to the standards of Jack in the Box.  One views the game from afar as the combination baseball/football venue is a relic from fifty years ago.  Sewage pipes have been known to leak and there are no watering holes in the surrounding area for fans to frequent before or after the game.   The good news is that the A’s are a fun team to watch.  The Raider’s? Well, that’s another story!

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Concord City Council to discuss Marijuana Controversy

concord-ca, back yard grow, marijuana cultivation, marijuana possession, reefer_madnessSmoking Marijuana is more fun than drinking beer, but a friend of ours was captured and they gave him 30 years.” ~ Phil Ochs 1964.

It was indeed a surprise to find marijuana cultivation to be an issue discussed at a recent Concord City Council meeting. Apparently, there is a dispute between approved medical growers of the herb versus neighbors who dislike the strong smell and are worried about criminals trespassing to steal the mature plants. Continue reading “Concord City Council to discuss Marijuana Controversy”

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The rot in Concord: time to clear the decay

Concord is a the city needs new leadership. The old guard that has been running Concord’s City Council has been taxing and spending recklessly. Concord does not need to have its current sales tax of 8.75 percent. The tax just supports inefficient, spendthrift government. Continue reading “The rot in Concord: time to clear the decay”

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Pinole blogosphere turns nasty

The site disparages anyone even vaguely connected to the citizens that recalled then-mayor Maria Alegria.

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Well that’s not true… the Cowpoke Roy Roger’s Blog has been nasty from the first round up, but now is spittin’ and frothin’ ’bout Pinole city council discussions concerning, of all things, plastic bags and smoking ordinances.

We guess you had to be there. Last I read this was a site that disparaged anyone even remotely connected to the citizens that, in 2008, successfully recalled then-mayor Maria Alegria (now rumoured to be running for West County School Board) and ran her council majority (one joined the Marines for sanctuary) out of town.

Anonymous pot shots galore in what is shaping up as a long-term grudge match. Note to Roy: Publish a glossary in the sidebar so visitors know what the heck the cowpoke is smokin’.

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What CWNS plan do you prefer?

cnws, concord naval weapons station, concord california, reuse plan, city council, contra costa, politics, development

[poll id=”40″]

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New RV Ordinance for Concord

Little noticed in the December 1st 2008 City Council meeting, was the final passage of a new ordinance that was initially sold to the City as covering RV’s. People expect that RVs are those oversized houses on wheels. The real issues with the real RVs are some are a blight and were being used as temporary housing for immigrants to the city, and to a much lesser extent the ‘esthetics’ battles between those in our city who do not like their neighbors choices. The City Council did not keep the ordinance focused on those things.

In the course of making their new ordinance the City redefined the RV and storage to include campers, pick up trucks with camper shells, motorcycles, snow mobiles, PARTS of the aforementioned whether visible or not and even my personal favorite display of government lack of common sense they specifically named in their RV ordinance: airplanes. In addition to going into what you own and have in your back yard (including what cannot be seen from the sidewalk), they have gone way over board detailing not only what you can park in your own driveway, but even what side of the driveway you can park on. And just in case you were worried that they were taking away a lot of your property rights, they have graciously allowed you to register to have one of the items; BUT you have to pay them 80 dollars for the ‘recording’ of the rights you had but are now restricted /removed retroactively.

There are many conflicts in the ordinance as stated that can be detailed in the simple structure of this column (*see letter to the City Council) however some of the odder things are:

1. If you have a set of 4 tires for your pick up truck in your back yard that is ok, except as soon as you put a camper shell on your pick up now the tires are RV parts and are illegal,

2. If you have say a 87 Toyota pickup with a camper shell then you cannot park it in your driveway, however if you have a full forward cab F150 or Escalade with a higher profile then that is OK,

3. An RV in your driveway is a safety and health hazard, but one parked on the street in front of your house is not.

4. Even if you have a few things stored in your backyard that no one can see, it is still illegal.

What I especially like is that under the ordinance the real Trojan Horse would be classified as an RV and legal when parked outside your ‘castle’ however when the Trojans pulled it in on wheels into their back yard behind their fence/walls, it would be OK as long as there was only one and there were no other camper equipment around.

The City needs to restructure and rework the ordinance to focus on the problems as perceived to concentrate on:

1. Oversized vehicles say 20’x8’x8′
2. Blighted conditions including occupancy
3. What is visible
4. Time limits on the street parking leaving everything else alone for now.

The question then remains what do we do about this silliness that has been put into our City’s ordinance? Here are some ideas:

1. File an action in State Court to challenge the over reaching of the City into our backyards and driveways, retroactive fees to keep rights that we should not have had taken away, etc/, or

2. As all three Council members who voted for this are coming up for re election in 2010 should this be a major issue in a new team to replace them and over turn the ordinance, or

3. What about the possibility of a protest by a Civil Obedience movement? We know what a Civil Disobedience is, however with 3000 real RVs and an additional 20=40,000 pieces of equipment that can be considered as camper, motorcycles/RV equipment we could flood the city staff with ‘compliance complaints’ to underscore the impossibility of enforcement and the over reaching aspect of it all.

If you have any ideas on how to confront this in an Easy Does It manner let us know.

Edi Birsan
Trying to remember that Easy Does It in Concord can work.

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