Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

To say the least, yes, I am so disappointed. There is a huge pile of trash just 50 yards from the maintenance road that has been there since last week. It is at least 100 bags of trash each weighing at a about 25 pounds each. The day before Thanksgiving, it is still there and some have been swept back into the creek because of the rain. On Thanksgiving Day, I go down at around 7:30 in the morning to video document the water flow and the camp is surrounded by water and inaccessible. Here is the video.

As for the run-off from the city from this recent rain, it is abundantly clear that the catchment system employed is ineffective simply since it never seems to get cleared out.

The smaller objects make it through and the transients collected a bucketful of balls to prove the point.

The larger objects for a large part is trapped by the screen yet heavier water flows just results in those items eventually cresting over the catchment to eventually end up downstream. I wonder what Harmony Grove, San Elijo Hills and those communities where some of this trash can eventually end up would think of all this.

But yes, instead of having turkey, I felt like one. It is such an uphill battle and maybe I expect too much but wouldn't it be ironic how in trying to not spend the appropriate resources in cleaning up this mess, Escondido somehow ends up being fined and having to spend that in addition as well. Just the usual bureaucratic shell game and there is so much that can be done creatively to help solve this problem. I am planning on moving the trash up to the road myself though sometime this week. "D" will document it all and although it is going to be some work, I will approach it with an upbeat attitude.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Proposition of H8

I wonder where I would be if my father had been gay unwilling, some societies may say, to have a child, and am instead borne unto a poor and impoverished family, a 4th child, undernourished at birth, bullied as a child, undereducated and underachieving as a youth to eventually become counter-productive as an adult.

A scenario of a life lumped into a recognizable and tangible generalization. Yet isn't that contrary to our fundamental belief in the concept of what, as individuals, makes us unique? Isn't that the very divine nature of our congress? A constitution that in it's imperfections, we as the direct beneficiaries, hold fast to such a bold and true undertaking? To sustain, nurture and evolve the principles of equality so that we can someday honestly epitomize the intentions as stated in the Preamble of the Constitution.

Please read the Preamble...

Are gays not providing for the common defence?

Promoting for the general welfare as well as ensuring domestic tranquility?

How then shall We appropriately establish the justice of their, in some eyes, imperfect union?

I can recall when Prince Charles and Princess Diane were wed in front of what must have been the entire world. How picturesque and oh so perfect did their union seem. How disappointing it must have been to some, including myself, the portrayal of what seemingly was the perfect storybook fairytale marriage, undignified in it's collapse. Another victim of what ails even the commonest of marriages... INFIDELITY...

In some countries such as Malta and Philippines, divorce is not even permitted so high in regard is the oath that is given considered. And please, what is the argument related to the contention that the basis of marriage is that of propagation?

I would be very interested indeed in knowing about the number of men and women that in some ways could not have children and yet were allowed to marry.

Those with erectile dysfunctions, intrauterine malfunctions, or just plain too old to even have children, why even death row inmates such the infamous Richard Ramirez, the night stalker are permitted to marry and to do so without consummation.

But what really saddens me beyond belief though and yes from both sides of the argument is the amount of money spent on this venture. The many millions and also hours, seemingly wasted resources that could have fed a child or helped provide in the mentoring and or adopting of one, paid for a teacher's salary, helped struggling families and all to just instead re-establish what seems to be a deeper divide.

Doesn't it remind you of Proposition 187? How we choose to spend the time and money litigating something as basic as human kindness and dignity. We could have better spent that time and money reaching out to one another, uplifting through seeking common ground and insisting on social accountability that is represented, maintained, and reinforced by the members of the human community.

To do so in the neutrality of our truest and most sincerest of intentions; educating our children, fostering growth and unity, humbly overcoming the daily struggles and dignified in our successes. Should I believe other civilizations of the human society do not hold onto those basic notions as well?

We all they do, in just another language. I would hope in this day and age where there is so much to achieve, bridges to build and or to mend within the nationale and global communities, let's create more sister cities, beautify a creek, help to care for those with special needs like my lovely and happily married cousin Mimi does. I hardly get a chance to talk to her she gets so busy running the daily operations of 2 households serving people who have special needs. She is at least a decade younger than me and I am so proud of her.

Other than that, if we insist, we will be marching against each other for many years to come. Pointed and unrelentless in eXpousing generalizations only to achieve a greater divide. I for one will be forced then to move for and support a Constitutional Clause that adds one more word to the Preamble where it then reads:

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence,[1] promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of LOVE and Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

Regardless of having been popularly believed by some band of mystical all knowing jurists that the introductory statement has no judicial value, I hope there will be a growing number of people that begin to seriously consider otherwise.

Those who believe that the Constitution is a living document. One that evolves and yet sustains the very basic nature of it's existence where freedom and equality is defended as an individuals' inherent right.

People who are knowledgeable and patriotic enough to exert the necessary passions in defending such a fundamental right for those they love and hold dear.

For how can one appreciate Liberty if there is a lack in the understanding of the very concept of having Love for it? Consequently then, why should a small supposed educated minority define what is and is not of great import in taking into consideration the elements within a document specifically designed to defend the Common People?

A Preamble is a statement of intent and in this case, one considered Great indeed. An introductory statement of the fundamental purposes and guiding principles which the Constitution is meant to serve.

What greater statement of intent is there then that of LOVE?

Is Love not an inherent right?

Love of Country and Community as expressed by Jennifer Shumaker of walkfortogetherness.

A staunch advocate of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in America, she gathered a march seeking public awareness in the movement to repeal Proposition H8. A march of 400 people over 2.4 miles starting and ending at Grape Day Park.

A march where, for the most part, participants were greeted positively and as a resident of Escondido, I can be proud of that.

For how can one seriously hope to hold onto the severest distinctions in considering what is Love for Family?

A Family who loves and supports dearly two human beings and just as importantly, Uncles who are Gay?

What better notion and or noble a lesson is there then? To hold above all else the simplest of decrees. Love, Compassion, and Equality.

Please join the human family on November 22nd for a "Candlelight March for Equality" in Oceanside. You can find all the particular information at

Thank you...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Buck a Bag...

Saturday, November 15, 2008... half a mile west of Harmony Grove Road. The Homeless Encampment and I was directed to this area out of a growing concern from the residents about the dangers of the fires that were being lit by the homeless especially during red flag warning days. This would make it the 3rd major incursion into their world and as much as I suspected the potential concerns, I couldn't be so rude as to turn down breakfast. There was a lot of work to do. Especially hauling out the trash.

Some people mistakenly believe that the homeless are responsible for the blight. In some cases this is true but there are many contributing factors along the aquaduct. Soccer balls, plastic and all forms of Styrofoams is in abundance, run-off from the various neighborhoods and industrial areas in Escondido and it all makes it's way down underneath the Harmony Grove Road overpass where it becomes a natural creek bed again.

From what I have witnessed, these catchments that are employed in order to screen some of this debris, the idea is good but the execution of it seems poor. They are not routinely cleaned and if they are, routinely may mean every 6 months from what I have seen and all that happens in this case is that when there is heavy rain, the trash and debris will just overtop the catchment and end up in the natural creek bed. There then is evidenced the sad and slow demise of this natural and beautiful resource.

As one can see there is practically a whole patch of land littered with prescription drug medicine bottles and capsules. I can not yet with certainty say that these washed down the flood control channel as well. It seems to be just another one of those issues that needs to be addressed in order to determine the contributing factors to this problem and how we can eventually come to resolve them.

Doug, one of the residents of the encampment assures us that no one from the camp hauled it down there since at first I really got some pretty creepy feelings thinking I ran into one of those back in the country meth labs you hear about in those documentaries... the plaque associated to that drug and how people insist on being obstinate in it's manufacture. I am sure that will be something Island Suns will delve into in the future especially when we get to the areas up and around East Valley Parkway.

Back to Doug and to my surprise, he wades into the creek just to show where it seems as if piles upon piles of nails had settled themselves into the creek bed.

I just can't even begin to think along with all the other materials stewing in this creek what health concerns affects the homeless, the wildlife and some of the kids that come down to fish and who as you can see handle them on quite a regular basis.

Thankfully no one has admitted to actually cooking and eating some of these up... yuck... can't even imagine though and on runs like these where it is necessary for me to take photos and document these events, I, on my return, do feel a strong need to employ a form of decontamination where I basically wipe and wash down my shoes, gloves and other equipment including my bike with a mixture of ammonia and hot water.

So if you are not angry yet well you should be. Even in not being a resident of Escondido, who knows what types of neglect and disdain for the environment is going on in your area. This has nothing to do with sitting in trees or flushing the water in your toilet only when the efficient amount of urine is achieved.

This is basic and for those that live in Escondido, it is in our backyards practically. It is in the aquaduct and it eventually is emptied back into the natural creek bed and is not only polluting but basically killing the environment we all live in. We can share and enjoy this environment as should be the case.

With all the bail out-s going on in a seemingly endless flurry around us, who is going to bail out our most precious resource... our environment? Our we going to wait until some famous politician in Washington makes his way to our neck of the woods to finally do something or are we just going to brush aside, out of sight out of mind.

I could go to the Wild Animal Park for some peeks at wildlife no?, but later on in the story as this one evolves, one will surprised to learn all the wildlife that we have here and that is being treated in such a manner. I also look forward to the day maybe in a year or 2 or 3 yet hopefully sooner, I can take my photos in what should otherwise be a beautiful and natural setting without having to worry about stumbling upon some rusting bicycles and or tentatively accepting a meal prepared in a possibly not so sterile manner by those that have found in it a refuge. It was extended to me though in the humblest of graces so I just couldn't outright refuse and I would hope that as this project progresses, we learn to extend to our environment, the concerns and proper respect it is so rightfully due.

Below is a short film of the initial stage of Operation Buck-A-Bag. Please visit also the the Escondido City website and continue to voice your concerns.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So then it begins...

because the Aquaduct is alive. From it's primeval beginnings as it churned out gorges and made possible fertile valleys, majestic groves of trees and all the lives in between, it runs down the city as if an artery, a life blood that in it's beauty can re-vitalize and heal a somewhat divided community.

It won't be easy. There are wounds to mend, some superficial, others deep, ill conceived, partisan, festering even when we sleep. We need a common bond, a central theme, a fundamental leg to stand on. We need leaders from the various neighborhoods and enclaves within Escondido to come together, to have a meaningful dialogue and to come to an agreeable compromise with reasonable considerations. We need the business sector both large and small to be creative in defining their role and to re-invest their efforts and attention to this specific community.

We need a comprehensive approach, one that can only be achieved if instead upon our differences, we focus on and are gracious with our commonalities in order to slowly work at bridging the gaps.

This will take time. It is all that people sometimes have and yet it has always been generally believed the value is in how one spends it. The wide variety of issues is daunting. How to treat in a dignified manner, the economically disparaged and psychologically displaced people whose only intent is to try and meek out an existence away from eyes that look so disdainfully as well as times suspiciously down upon them.

How to incorporate all the diverse cultures that exist along the Aquaduct where in a community rejuvenation project, all has a voice in the direction of their artistic and functional expressions. How can we convince the California Center for the Arts and other organizations in Escondido to at least begin to look at the feasibility of taking on such a task.

Where we then have groups that pull together to make possible again a boxing gym within an expanded community center that serves also the youth in the hopes of establishing well grounded principles of discipline in exercising an accepted form of competitive development. Where we have sponsors who help make grants possible and awarded to winners of mural competitions, fun runs, bike-a-thons, and semi-pro marathons along the Trail, as well as periodical achievement awards for deserving neighborhoods to nurture, foster and maintain once again the concept of true unity.

Unity whereas a garden of ideas and approaches can make possible something such as a band competition, open to everyone, at Grape Day Park with some proceeds dedicated to the Aquaduct Trail Revival Project to consequently benefit the City herself.

We can come together. We can start now.Let's start from scratch, community zero so we can be proud of being Escondido again.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Operation Comm Zero ( Community Zero)...

Community Zero, The Aquaduct Project, I am sure once everyone gets on board realizing how potentially "cool" of an endeavor this is oh so going to turn out to be, they will come up with their own names and deservedly so. To me, on a personal level... it is known also as Operation Thin Line and I am glad to be a part of this adventure.

Others may call it ambitious, misguided, self-interested, whatever coinage such people phrase to maybe excuse themselves from having come up with the idea themselves and giving up on it realizing how difficult such social revival and reinvigoration projects can be.

Hey well, please don't blame me... I just wanted something to do besides the usual over-indulgent behaviour we all tend to get ourselves into but please, I have a funny shamanistic feeling there will be plenty of time for that sorry err I mean particularly sensitive and rather personal story line.

Back to the concept of a thin line and when exactly is it crossed, is it also as convenient a detraction from the real issues as when one uses the expression "people in glass houses should refrain from throwing stones"? Could that have somehow evolved over time to be as sophisticated as the saying "no static at all"? or when John McCain so aptly advised the audience not to give in to the "static"?

What is "static" in the metaphoric sense of the word? Is it when concepts of justice are somewhat perverted out of convenience? Is it the usual business of treating with favour those we on a deep and maybe subconscious defer to as having the most in common with? What fine and or thin lines therefore separate statical and non statical considerations? A cubicle? A certain bloodline, a set of railroad tracks or something as intangible as the amount of a paycheck?

Are those that throw stones in glass houses ones that own a glass house or two for show? Is there a sense of static in the notion of who exactly would throw a stone in a glass house anyways? Wouldn't one disturb the righteous maturation of a benevolent and soon to be delicious foundation to a grateful soul's spaghetti sauce? Or maybe that creation (tomato for those that didn't get it) just isn't as susceptible to the propagandist messages coming from that mysterious frequency some guy named Kenneth seems to know about.

Fact is, static is everywhere, just permeates our very fiber and the only hope I can think of in dispelling it as much as I could from my life was to try and express the love I have for film and photography.

My glass house I suppose one can say then because of urban shots that were necessitated by my first project... to initially put together a video documentary on a group of people called the Beautifiers... my glass house materialized into this monstrosity running through the city of Escondido known as The Aquaduct. Most refer to it as a flood control channel and rightfully so but we will get more into that.

I have a sometimes irritating knack of telling segmental stories, I start at the middle double back and then maybe branch off into a somewhat vaguely related track... it is that HUGE of a GLASS HOUSE for me... the issues are so wide and varied and I am but as of yet one element in this endeavor.

One aspect that seems to be getting resolved though is the litter and the danger posed under the 15 freeway overpass.

On my way back from the 3rd day of preliminary scouting where I finally made it to Foxley in assessing the beginning to the concreting of the creek, I happened onto this scene.

Finally! and a bicycle police officer at that. As far as the pile of refuse along the side of the trail, he had to basically put some gloves on and toss it from the embankment itself since Public Works wouldn't remove it due to the issue of it being Cal Trans problem. We will speak about that more later.

Wow though the anger I must have felt when our officers are regulated to trash duty simply because of the lack of cooperation between 2 agencies, Public Works and Caltrans to work together in resolving the issues.

How much more difficult will this project be in accomplishing then especially considering the very wide variety of static and stones that surely will be cast and thrown about?

Remains to be seen and this article will be updated daily so please stay tuned.