Monday, April 07, 2003

My Life

I live in Oakland, California. I moved here three years ago from San Francisco, California. On one level, since I did not change my job or work routine, I didn't really do anything except change neighborhoods. But what a neighborhood change. While San Francisco has an Asian sensibility, Oakland has a Southern one. The by-product of San Francisco's urban renewal of the 60s and 70s was the dislocation of large numbers of African-Americans. They were forced out of their neighborhoods by the government. Many, if not most, came to Oakland, while leaving the poorest to inhabit the new housing projects being built where there were once homes and a neighborhood. Twenty years later, public housing built in those 60s urban renewal projects dumped its residents onto the streets of the East Bay with a government check to subsidize their rent, turning much of West Oakland into an instant slum. In this instance, I do consider the African-American urban culture to be Southern in character.

I am part of a later wave of migration from San Francisco to the East Bay. In the 90s, real estate in San Francisco boomed. I was lucky to have bought a small condo just before the market went through the roof. This is such a cool story, I have to tell it, but I don't have to tell it right now. Remind me later to tell the story about how I made my fortune. Yeah. Right.

I mentioned that I still work in San Francisco? I work for an agency of the government, and that's as much as I'm going to tell you. I do have my privacy requirements. I've been there almost 20 years. I do what I do well, but I don't actually do that much anymore. I joke when people ask me where I work, and they have to ask me just that way for my cute little repartee to work. My answer is, I work for the government, and if after 15 years you're still working, you're doing it wrong. I'm sure some smarter-than-I people out there have a theory with a name on it, but much of my value to my employer is my understanding of its culture and procedures. To that need, I brought an ability to finesse systems. My department runs well.

I live alone and I live pretty well for my income bracket. I have lots of friends, some close, some more like friendly acquaintances. I entertain often. Last year I hosted about 6 large parties and a dozen smaller dinner parties. I'm a reasonably good cook and I have a large selection of good wine. I am considered good company.

I joke to friends and family that I only look rich. I am not rich, at least not in money. I am always struggling with my cash flow. That is not how I determine success, though. I was taught that a man has most in the world what he values most. I mostly have friends and memories.

Yahoo! News - Police Attack Calif. Anti-War Protesters

While my opinion is not any more educated than anyone else who may read about this story, I am very opinionated about it if, for no other reason, I live in Oakland. First of all, there is no reason in the fucking world for police to fire projectiles at citizens unless they are being attacked. Period. End of discussion. If you have a different opinion on that, go write about it with the other right-wing nuts. Be advised though. I am going to do everything I can personally as an individual to see those who violated my community norms suffer the consequences of their actions. If you're the cop that fired the bullets, you're going to come answer questions to the Grand Jury. If you're his commander, you're going to come answer questions to the Grand Jury. If you're the fucking mayor of Oakland, you better have a better statement than simply echoing Mayor Daley when back in Chicago in 1968 je said the protestors provoked the police. Okay, everyone think for a minute and get your stories straight. I want some answers.
Can't we just all get along?

That's what Rodney King said when L.A. blew up after the police officers who beat the shit out of him were found not guilty of beating the shit out of him. I'm reacting to the rhetoric that increasingly is coming into play in the blogosphere. God, some of those people are nasty, and I'm pointing my finger at both, the Right and the Left. Fools and Mean People.

I do want to make one point, and I want to make it emphatically. One can be opposed to the war, George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft and still be a god-fearing, flag-waving, patriot. For anyone, anyone, to suggest otherwise is un-American, un-patriotic, and just plain nasty.