Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: California

Vote No on Prop. 8

On May 15, 2008 the California Supreme Court ruled that statutes that limit marriage to a relationship between a man and a woman violated the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. It also held that individuals of the same sex have the right to marry under the California Constitution.

Proposition 8 wants to “change the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.”

Even the most conservative voter should realize how radical it is to change the California Constitution. The only word I can think of to describe this proposition is… wrong.

I am voting No on Prop 8.

However, if you watch the video PSA below, you’ll notice that the filmmakers parody the Apple commercial where the hip young dude is “No on Proposition 8” and the older guy in the tie is all for “adding a little discrimination.”

When I watch this video, I come away thinking that it is an issue of heterosexual white men wanting to limit the rights of gays and lesbians. But not is that simple in California. There is a good chance this Proposition 8 might win in California — because all communities are split on this issue. An October 17 poll indicated that 58 percent of African-American voters supported Proposition 8 versus 38 percent who opposed it. Among Latinos, 47 percent supported the proposition while 41 percent were opposed. It is time to be a little more open about this issue — that negative attitudes against gays are not the domain of white suburban church leaders alone — and that everyone needs to start fighting their prejudices against gays and lesbians, and voting No on Prop. 8.

California Politics

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A woman with a display table was standing outside of Ralph’s Supermarket today, asking for signatures.  As Super Tuesday approaches, the wheels start turning for the next election’s California propositions.  Every year, there are a whole group of new propositions on the California ballot.  They are always as confusing as possible, and half of them get stuck in costly court battles.  The big proposition for this month has something to do with Indian Casinos and their right to add more slot machines to feed their tribes, or something like that, or at least giving the tribes better odds in blackjack.  Most of these propositions have to do with money and taxes, or where the money should go.  I have a feeling the money never goes anywhere other than into the advertising campaigns of new propositions.

As I passed the political display table outside of the supermarket, I was shocked to read the poster posted in front of it.  “Let’s Keep Marriage Between a Man and a Woman.”  Redondo Beach may not be West Hollywood, but it is still a “liberal” area.  There were at least four people adding their signatures to put this issue on the ballot.  I was dismayed and angry.  Redondo Beach?

I’m not extremely political.  Sophia is Republican.  I respect some of the Republican views on international relations, even taxes.   I have a “conservative” side to myself.  However, religious-tinged issues such as gay marriage, right to life, and putting “God” back into our culture JUST DRIVE me nuts!   Is this what we really want to spend all our time talking about?  It’s as if a married couple is living in a home where the toilet is flooding the entire house and their car is on fire, and they are arguing over who should do the dishes tonight?  

I think it is cool if gays want to get married or take up juggling.   What’s the big deal?

Anyway, that’s as political as I get, for now.

I went into the store and bought some tomatoes, Cheerios, turkey slices, tomato sauce, and green tea.  I paid for my items, then left through the “other” front door, hoping to avoid the woman with the political display and getting upset again.   But it didn’t work.  The minute she saw me, she ran over to me with her clipboard, asking me to sign it. 

“Would you like to… blah blah… about renewable energy?”

“Huh?” I wondered.

I looked over to her display.  Her poster had two sides.  One side said “Keep Marriage Between a Man and a Woman.”  The flip side contained something about renewable energy.  Everyone that I saw signing their names was adding their name to the renewable energy clipboard, and I just didn’t realize it.

Rather than being relieved, I just felt annoyed at the political system.  I didn’t add my name for this proposition either.  Sophia had once told me how it works.  This woman is paid to get signatures.  So, she was working on behalf of “Keep Marriage Between  Man and a Woman” AND “renewable energy.”  I’m sure she would be handing out Al-Queda propaganda videos if they paid her too.  It’s as if all the issues are interchangeable.  Just get them on the ballot, and it helps someone… someone who isn’t the California voter.

Now, that’s what modern American politics is all about.  

OK, now I’m off to watch the Democratic debate.  Snore.   Then, Lost.

No Place Like Home

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Sophia sometimes works with a interpreting and translation agency in Carmel, and she really likes the people who work there, but has never met any of them in person. So, today, after leaving San Francisco, we made a special detour just to visit the staff of Richard Schneider Enterprises in Carmel. Apparently, the bunch is as nice in person as they are on the phone. Have you ever seen a happier group of people? This is what you look like when you work in beautiful Carmel.

We were supposed to stay in Carmel for the night, but we decided we were homesick, even for ugly Los Angeles, so off we went… back home, fighting the traffic along the way.

So, we’re home! Home at last. It’s so wonderful to be looking out the window again, seeing the beautiful scenery and listening to the running water in the lovely creek outside our living room.

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Wait. That’s not a creek I hear. That’s the broken toilet upstairs. And that photo is not from Los Angeles. That’s a photo I took at Applegate Lake near Ashland, Oregon, right before we stopped at that little cafe and drank some hot apple cider. Over here, we look into the living room of the five surfer dudes who live next to us, the ones who blast Nirvana at 2AM in the morning and leave bottles of Corona on the street.

But it’s good to be home… no more sharing a laptop with Sophia, which means MORE blogging!

All in all, we had a great time on our West Coast Bloggers Tour 2007.

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It was a pleasure to meet so many of you. Now, it’s time to go to Danny’s and see the rest of my birthday cards and gifts! By the time I finish celebrating my birthday this year, it will be my NEXT birthday.

I apologize for not reading many blogs in the last two weeks. Now, it’s time for me to catch up with YOU. Once, when I went on vacation, I complained about finding it difficult to keep up with your blogs, and I asked you to help me keep connected by writing a quick summary of your lives in my comments.

Have you noticed that I didn’t ask you to do it for me during this trip?

The reason is that by now, I know you so well, I KNOW what you are writing about without having to actually read anything —

  • 4 of you are depressed.
  • 2 of you are having problems with your husband.
  • 3 of you are having trouble with your teenage daughter.
  • 2 of you are worried that your newborn baby is making you a boring person.
  • 2 of you are worried about drinking too much chardonnay with other mothers during playtime.
  • 4 of you need to get laid NOW!
  • 1 of you did get laid, and it wasn’t very good.
  • 3 of you are reading David Sedaris again.
  • 2 of you think “Gilmore Girls” has jumped the shark.
  • 2 of you are impressed with how the Google Reader is helping with your blog reading.
  • 3 of you got drunk for the third time this week.
  • 4 of you really hate George Bush.
  • 2 of you are writing poems about your depression.
  • 3 of you have been lazy and are just posting “funny” videos from YouTube.
  • 2 of you went on bad dates with men who falsely described themselves as taller and richer on Match.com.
  • 3 of you are badmouthing the “bitch” you ex-boyfriend is sleeping with.
  • 5 of you are writing about the new shoes you just bought.
  • 4 of you are describing your bikini wax.
  • 5 of you are saying that you met Sophia and me, and liked Sophia better.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: LA is So Laid Back

Postcard from the Road

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(from our hotel room in Fort Bragg)

Travelling can be stressful at times, so I’m glad Sophia and I decided ahead of time to enjoy ourselves, and to laugh off any bumps in the road. Napa is pretty, but not our glass of wine. How many wineries can a person visit? How many wineries can one visit and still safely drive those windy country roads? And how many restaurants can serve fifteen dollar organic chicken sandwiches?

Our favorite wine country town was Healdsburg. It is quaint, but not sickingly touristy. Santa Rosa is cool also, mostly because Charles Schultz lived there, and there are sculptures of Charlie Brown and Snoopy all over the place.

Safari West in Santa Rosa was as overpriced as our arugula salad in Sonoma. They advertised themselves as an “African safari” experience, but for safety reasons, they don’t have any animals that could actually eat you. So, you travel around on a crowded jeep watching giraffes and antelopes sleeping, eating, shitting, and ignoring you. At least at Universal Studios, the Jaws shark comes out to attack you at least once!

The tour guide at Safari West recently wrote a children’s book about animals, and he seemed more interested in promoting it than giving us a tour, always saying that we could “pick up a copy in the gift shop.” This is embarrassing to admit, but I fell asleep on Sophia’s shoulder while riding a bumpy jeep on a “African” safari. Still, it was an entertaining and different experience, but not worth the sixty bucks a person.

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We liked this zebra the best. These electric zapcars are all over the place.

We had hoped to take a mud bath and massage in Calistoga. I was especially excited about posting a photo of myself with mud up to my neck, but we changed our mind when we actually saw the spa that we chose from some brochure we got at the hotel. Rather than it looking like an “Oasis,” it looked like a trailer behind a motel. When we went inside, Sophia asked the owner if we could see the mud bath before we paid, but the owner said we couldn’t — they were still “getting it ready.” Sophia asked to use the restroom, and like Nancy Drew, sneaked into the mud bath room. She immediately came out and told me that we should leave.

“It looks filthy.” she said. “They’re cleaning it up with dirty rags”

We were a little disappointed. I owe Sophia a mud bath.

Today, we drove from Napa to Mendocino. It was very interesting to see how the landscape changed from lush wineries to massive redwoods. Sophia was fascinated at her first look at these amazing trees. She even started to cry.

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“It’s like a fairy tale forest,” she said.

I didn’t have much time to be emotional, since the darkness of the tree cover and the curvy roads made driving a little scary.

Eventually, we made it to Mendocino. While Napa had an upscale wine lover/foodie vibe, the Northern California coast has maintained much of the hippy vibe of the 1960’s (although wealthier hippies). We stopped to buy some fruits at a food co-op. If Sophia was ever in political enemy territory, it was here. There were anti-war petitions hanging over the dairy aisle, and photos of Bush with X’s marking out his face. We especially enjoyed this sign posted by the front door, telling customers to shut off their cell phones.

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The views of the ocean are beautiful here. The oceanfront is rugged and… manly. In comparison, the beaches of Los Angeles are, as Ann Coulter might say, for faggots.

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We’re staying the night in Fort Bragg, which is one town over from Mendocino, and is known as the place where visitors who can’t afford Mendocino stay for the night. As I’m writing this, we’re in a small coffeehouse that serves organic coffee and we’re listening to a talent hippyish-looking singer doing a Joni Mitchell song. What could be more Northern Californian?

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Travelling is fun, but you’re never quite sure what’s going to happen next, especially when you’re travelling on a budget. We were concerned about our hotel in Fort Bragg because it looked a little Bates Motel-ish when we pulled in at night.

“I’m not staying here.” said Sophia. “There’s a homeless man standing right outside!”

Luckily, as we got closer, we saw it was just the sea captain.

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He Wasn’t a Tiger-Cat!

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Look, it’s one thing if, while IM-ing with a female blogger, I tell her that “if we hook up, I’ll make love to you like no man has ever made love to you before.”  She’ll understand that I’m blowing some smoke in her face, being a typical man who just wants a piece of ass.

It’s another thing when you’re Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, currently running for State Attorney General, and telling voters that you won a football scholarship to Harvard University, and also received an Academic All-American award there.

But now that the local media investigated his background, it appears that he never received an athletic scholarship from Harvard.  He got financial aid. 

“The Ivy League does not permit” athletic scholarships, said Robert Mitchell, a Harvard spokesman.

As for the All-American honor, Delgadillo actually got only an honorable mention for the award.

City attorney spokesman Jonathan Diamond said the words “honorable mention” inadvertently were left off Delgadillo’s city Web site.

Delgadilllo also has claimed a brief stint as a professional football player with a Candadian team, but even this is cloudy.

Delgadillo signed with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League and reported to training camp but was cut before he could play, Brad Blank, a sports agent who represented Delgadillo, told the Times.

“He never played for the team, never claimed to. That was the extent of his stint as a professional football player, and he has never claimed otherwise,” said Roger Salazar, Delgadillo’s campaign spokesman.

Team spokesman Rom Halverson said he could find no record of Delgadillo being signed to play for the team and added, “if he didn’t play, he wasn’t a Tiger-Cat.”

Did I already mention that this man is running for State Attorney General?

I just sent him off this angry email:

Dear Mr. Delgadillo,

What kind of message do all these “white lies” send to our youth?  What message does this send me, a tax-paying citizen rewriting my resume for the fifth time before I mail it to someone at Warner Brothers?

Sincerely,

Neil Kramer
2006 – Editor-in-Chief of Internationally-Read Online Publication

Responsibilities include — content management, web design and template development, customer service, marketing, search engine optimization, social networking, photography, research, editing, audio production, visual conception, statistical interpretation, and scheduling. 

Hey, I’m not lying, am I?

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthBikini Girl Sells Body on Ebay

After Sophia’s Shoot

Sophia’s shoot on Windfall went great.  Afterwards, we searched for a restaurant in Valencia for dinner that wasn’t an Outback Steakhouse or an Olive Garden.  Before we went home, Sophia went out and  bought me a nice "thank you" gift for all my help.

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