World’s edge in Sutro Heights Park – San Francisco on Saturday afternoon

Every picture tells a story – ongoing series.

A muggy Saturday afternoon in San Francisco by the Pacific Ocean.

Folks crowd the near by Ocean Beach, casually ignore Shelter in Place and the fact 5,000,000 Americans have now tested positive for COVID-19.

Going down blissfully is one way to cope with the Pandemic  as the seabirds fly by.

Photos – Lee Heidhues



Worlds Edge IV 8.8.2020






“I will never shop at the Ace Hardware on Clement St. AGAIN.”

Liz Heidhues 8.8.2020

I will never shop at Ace Hardware, 152 Clement Street, San Francisco  AGAIN! 

I have been shopping there for years.  On August 7, I had to listen to an elderly Chinese customer being abused by a young male employee.  The employee kept shouting “GET THE F*** OUT OF MY STORE!” while physically confronting the somewhat confused elderly shopper.

Ace Hardware III 8.8.2020


The shopper’s mask had slipped from his face down around his neck.  I heard the expletive-laced language two aisles away.  I watched as I stood in line to pay.  Finally, I spoke up and told the employee that I objected to listening to the F*** word over and over while I was shopping.

Then a very tall male employee came rushing over to chew me out for objecting to watching a fellow shopper being mistreated.  BOTH male employees ganged up on me and told me I could shop somewhere else.  They told me that they could say whatever they wanted to customers because their Ace Hardware was private property.

They told me to shop with my feet and leave.  They said “WE DON’T WANNA GET COVID-19! WE DON’T SELL VENTILATORS HERE!!”

I perceived their verbal abuse of this Chinese man shopping in their store related to the American people calling COVID-19 the “Chinese virus.”  I am elderly, too.  I was shaken by the hostility shown by the Ace Hardware staff toward a Chinese shopper.

Ace Hardware II 8.8.2020Ace Hardware II 8.8.2020




Nude Berlin sunbather filmed chasing after laptop-thieving wild boar

We all need a break from depressing news of the Pandemic, the American government’s failure to provide needed financial help for its citizens and the other crises afflicting planet earth in 2020 on a daily basis.

Deutsche Welle 8.7.2020

A nude sunbather was filmed chasing after a wild boar who stole his laptop, while he was relaxing at a Berlin lake. In a video that has now gone viral, the man was seen running after the boar at the Teufelssee, a popular spot for nude sunbathing.

Adele Landauer, a Berlin-based life coach who took the photos, shared them on her Instagram account on Friday.

“Yesterday at the lake in Berlin I saw a real hero,” she wrote. “A female wild boar with two babies came out of the forest in order to search for food … In Berlin we are free people — we love to bathe in the sun and lake like we are born.”

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East Berlin – 1986

“Many of us were scared but the wild boars seemed to be peaceful,” she added, going on to describe the man’s ordeal when the boars “found this yellow bag and decided to take it away.”

The owner of the bag immediately jumped up to chase the boars, as his laptop was inside. “Every one of us adored him, how focused he stayed, and when he came back with his yellow bag in hand we all clapped and congratulated him for his success,” Landauer wrote. “This happens when you’re focused on your goals.”

“This must be the best thing on the internet today,” one Twitter user wrote.

“I was just sent the most joyful picture of all time,” another user tweeted.

Meanwhile, Landauer also uploaded the photos on her Facebook page in a post which was shared over 13,000 times by Friday afternoon. Landauer said that she had obtained permission from the man to post the photos, and that he laughed out loud when she showed them to him. 

“If people bring food to the lake, the animals can smell it from as far as 1,000 meters away,” said Derk Ehlert of the Berlin Senate Department for the Environment. The wild boars are probably used to eating food in plastic bags, said Ehlert.

Because many people leave their leftovers behind, boars, along with foxes, raccoons and badgers often come to forage in the evenings. In summer, he added, such encounters with animals before nightfall are not unlikely, as more people frequent the lakes during periods of warmer weather.

The Berlin official added just one request to dwellers of the German capital: “Please don’t leave your garbage or food by the water or forest.”





Murdered by Vallejo cop. Family of slain 22-year old files wrongful death suit

The wanton murder of 22-year old Sean Monterrosa in June by a Vallejo cop is a disgusting outrage.

Coming close on the heels of George Floyd’s murder in May by a Minneapolis cop it’s further proof that cops in America have license to kill at will.

The family of Sean Monterrosa is seeking judicial relief for their son’s murder. It will not bring him back. The American judiciary system is flawed. But, at least the family has a forum in which to express its grief and anger.

In addition to this civil action the cop who shot Sean Monterrosa needs to be charged with murder. Sadly and predictably prosecutorial authorities are treading water and have nearly two months after the crime failed to charge the cop.

San Francisco Chronicle 8.6.2020

The family of Sean Monterrosa sued the city of Vallejo and police Officer Jarrett Tonn on Thursday, accusing Tonn of panicking and fatally shooting the 22-year-old San Franciscan from an unmarked police vehicle with no provocation on a night of racial justice demonstrations in June.

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“We have no moment to grieve. All we can do is turn this tragedy to power,” Monterrosa’s older sister, Michelle Monterrosa, said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit in front of Vallejo City Hall. “It’s hard — we lost our only brother. This is not the end. We will do everything we can to make sure my brother gets justice.”

Oakland civil rights attorney John Burris, who filed the wrongful death suit in federal court for the family, called Tonn “a trigger-happy officer and potentially a homicidal officer” who is “clearly not a person who should be in a Black and brown community” doing police work.

“This officer in my view was a panicky guy … scared to death of any little thing,” Burris said. “That is unconscionable to me.” He called the shooting “flat-out murder.”

It describes the killing of Monterrosa as “brutal, malicious,” and done while he was kneeling outside a Walgreens store on the 1000 block of Redwood Street in Vallejo at 12:37 a.m. on June 2.

Monterrosa had a hammer in his sweatshirt pocket that Tonn said he thought was a firearm, but he held nothing in his hands.

It was Tonn’s fourth shooting in five years, according to the suit. Burris said Tonn’s history “raises real questions about his suitability or fitness to possess weapons.”

Efforts to reach Tonn were unsuccessful.

Burris criticized Tonn’s colleagues for reassuring and even “coddling” Tonn as Monterrosa lay dying in the store parking lot. Digging through police records, Burris was unable to find reports of discipline or counseling after Tonn’s other shootings, the suit says.

Burris also contended Thursday that the Vallejo Police Officers’ Association tried to cover up for Tonn by saying Monterrosa was crouching and reaching for his waist, as if preparing to attack, contrasting Police Chief Shawny Williams’ initial description of Monterrosa being on his knees and raising his arms. Williams later changed his description to match the union’s, and he told The Chronicle he was merely clarifying the “narrative.”

“We have a problem here in Vallejo,” Burris said. “We can’t trust what they (police union leaders) have to say.”

A lawyer for the union declined to comment Thursday. The union issued a statement defending Tonn, saying: “Fearing that Mr. Monterrosa was about to open fire on the officers in the vehicle, the officer was forced to fire multiple rounds through his windshield. The officer used deadly force as a last resort because he had no other reasonable option to prevent getting shot.”

A spokeswoman for the Vallejo Police Department, Brittany K. Jackson, did not address the specifics of the lawsuit but expressed sympathy for the Monterrosa family.

The Vallejo police have drawn community condemnation in recent years for a string of deaths at the hands of officers. Those include Willie McCoy, a 21-year-old man who was shot to death by officers last year after he fell asleep with a gun in his lap in his car in a Taco Bell drive-through, Ronell Foster, a bicyclist who was shot to death in 2018 after an officer chased him into a dark alleyway; and Angel Ramos, who was killed by police at his home in 2017 after a report of a fight.

And last week, Chief Williams said he was looking into allegations by a former police captain that officers had bent their badges to mark on-duty killings.

Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams recused herself from investigating the McCoy and Monterrosa cases, saying that Becerra should investigate them instead. But his office has declined to review either case, saying Abrams had no conflict of interest that would prevent her from deciding whether to file charges against officers in the case.

“This is a moment where (Attorney General) Becerra steps up like a real man and takes on this case,” Nora Monterrosa, the victim’s mother, (pictured below left) said in Spanish at the news conference.

Sean Monterrosa I 8.6.2020

Separately, Becerra plans to investigate the Police Department’s disposal of key evidence in the incident: the windshield through which Tonn allegedly fired his weapon. The windshield was destroyed after the shooting, and Thursday’s lawsuit contends that in disposing of the glass, the city deprived the family of valuable evidence and “ratified and condoned” Tonn’s actions.

German neo-nazi suspect confesses to assassinating pro-refugee politician

The political assassination in June 2019 by a neo-Nazi is receiving scant attention in America.

The cold blooded murder of Walter Lübcke shocked Germany. Now his accused assassin has confessed to the crime.  The trial of Stephan E. is expected to last until October.

German criminal trials do not have a jury. Trials are held before a panel of Judges as shown above.

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 8.5.2020

The main suspect in the killing of regional German politician Walter Lübcke has confessed and apologized in court. 

A far-right extremist who is suspected of murdering regional politician Walter Lübcke confessed in court on Wednesday.

“I shot him,” the defendant said in his hourlong statement, which was read out by his lawyer at the start of the proceedings in Frankfurt.

Stephan E., 46, is on trial for the shooting of Lübcke, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Lübcke was shot in the head on his porch on June 1, 2019 and died later that night.

Read more: Germany and right-wing extremism — The new dimension of terrorism

Stephan E.’s statement went on to describe his own act as cowardly and cruel. “I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry,” were the words directed at Lübcke’s relatives. “No one should have to die because of his religion or his opinions or his origin and background.”

This apology failed to impress Lübcke’s widow and two sons, who are participating in the trial as co-plaintiffs.

Prosecutors said Stephan E.’s motivations were based on his “right-wing extremist hatred of refugees.”

Lübcke became a target for militant far-right extremists in 2015. At the time, Germany saw a major increase in the number of migrants coming into the country, and the 65-year-old politician attracted attention as an advocate of efforts to welcome and integrate them.

The statement read by the defense attorney on Wednesday was the defendant’s third confession. Previously, Stephan E. had confessed twice  — each time with a different version of last year’s crime.

This time, even though the defendant’s words were short and clear, they were somewhat surprising. They included a mixture of his first statement to the police, in which no mention is made of his co-defendant Markus H, and a later, modified version in which he blamed H. for the shooting.

In Wednesday’s statement, Stephan E. still heavily incriminated his former friend and co-defendant Markus H., but he now admitted to having fired the shots himself. 

Stephan E. described what led up to that fateful night last June when Lübcke was shot on the terrace of his house in Wolfhagen-Istha, near Kassel, a city he represented as district president.

Walter Lubcke 6.17.2019

Walter Lubcke’s funeral – 2019

His words made the listeners shiver, describing as they did the quiet but rapid radicalization of a young man. The driving force behind this, according to Stephan E., was Markus H.

“He radicalized, manipulated and incited me,” E. said in his statement. “And I let it happen to me.”

According to the statement, H. procured weapons and joined E. in shooting practice in a forest. “He always spoke of civil war-like conditions that would soon prevail in Germany … how Western life in Germany must be defended against Islamization,” E. said of his former friend.

Stephan E., who describes himself as a prepper and was preparing for a “civil war,” said he still does not see himself as a neo-Nazi. He said he became caught up in the narrative put forward by H., who had spoken “over and over again” of the way that the “Merkel government” wanted to take away the freedom of its citizens and wipe them out.

The statement alleged that at some point during the shooting exercises in the forest, H. stuck a portrait of Angela Merkel on the target, as well as a picture of Lübcke. H. is said to have portrayed the district president as a “traitor to the people” and a “stooge of Jewish interests.”

He is also said to have described Lübcke as someone “who, unlike Merkel, could be approached,” which, according to E., made him an easy target for the two accused.

On the evening of the crime, the statement said,  Stephan E. met H. around 9.30 p.m., carrying a weapon in his pocket that H. had given him previously. The plan was to wait for Lübcke and confront him. At about 10:30 p.m. they allegedly arrived at the Lübcke family’s house, where the two of them saw a person on the terrace and the glowing light of a smartphone.

Read more: Killing of Kassel politicians leaves locals aghast

E. described what followed in short sentences in his statement: “You threaten him with a gun; I’ll beat him up, and tell him something about leaving the country,” H. allegedly told him.

The use of a gun “was definitely an option,” the statement said, which claimed that H. had also told E. that he should shoot if Lübcke moved. On the terrace, E. pointed his gun at the seated Lübcke “from close range,” telling him “Don’t move” as the district president was getting up.  He said he had pushed Lübcke back into his chair.

E. said that when the politician moved again, he pulled the trigger and told H. he believed Lübcke had been hit in the head, before the two fled the scene.


Iconic Ralph Barbieri, Sports talk ‘Razor,’ dies at 74 after battle with Parkinson’s

It mattered not that Ralph Barbieri was a fixture in San Francisco sports talk radio.

When Ralph told his corporate owners that he had Parkinson’s Disease he was fired several months later. It’s small consolation that Ralph did the American thing.  He sued corporate management and prevailed.

The psychological damage caused by having to engage the American legal system is daunting, time consuming and depressing.

There are no victors in the legal system. Ralph may have won the battle but ultimately lost the war. It was a pyrrhic victory.

Rest in peace Ralph. I loved your show.

San Francisco Chronicle 8.4.2020

Longtime San Francisco radio personality Ralph Barbieri died at his home in Novato on Monday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 74.

He spent 28 years at KNBR (680 AM). Over the final 15, he teamed with Tom Tolbert on a popular afternoon show called “The Razor and Mr. T.”

Barbieri was dubbed “Razor Voice” many years ago by the late Chronicle columnist Herb Caen because of his raspy, high-pitched delivery.

“Even though we knew it was coming, it was still a mule kick,” Tolbert said Monday.

“I loved the guy. I loved working with the guy. I don’t think anyone will ever have the magic that we had.”

He signed off each show with a quote from British novelist and poet G.K. Chesterton: “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.”

In 2005, Barbieri was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. He didn’t disclose his illness to KNBR management and his listeners until 2011.

Six months after his announcement, he was fired in April 2012. He sued KNBR’s parent company, Cumulus Media, alleging discrimination based on his age (then 66) and his illnesses.

Ralph B II 8.4.2020

At the time, Cumulus vice president Bill Bungeroth called the charges “baseless,” pointing out that the company knew about his illness when it renewed his contract the previous fall. He said Barbieri was let go because he refused to honor the terms of his contract. In 2013, the suit was settled for an undisclosed amount, believed to be more than $1 million.

For more than a decade, Barbieri said, he became almost obsessed with becoming a father, even though he never wanted to be married. Through in vitro fertilization with a surrogate mother, his son, Tayte Ali, was born in 2000, and Barbieri embraced his new role as a father.

He told an interviewer in 1992, “I spent the better part of 25 years carousing and leading the single life.” After three drunken-driving charges in a 12-month period, he had entered a 120-day treatment program in 1995. He later said he swore off alcohol and drugs when he became a father.

Raised in Millbrae, he attended the University of San Francisco on an academic scholarship — he was a member of the cheerleading squad — and earned a degree in political science with a minor in philosophy. He received an MBA at Penn and worked in advertising in New York for a year and a half.

After returning to San Francisco, he decided to write an article about Bill Walton, the iconoclastic center of the Portland Trail Blazers. They met in a hotel in Oakland, where the Blazers were playing the Warriors. Barbieri accepted an invitation from Walton to spend a week at his home in Oregon to let him see how he lived. Barbieri eventually sold the long story to Sport magazine.

After he wrote a cover story for Sport on decathlete Bruce Jenner — who would win gold at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal — he made a guest appearance on Scotty Stirling’s radio show on KNBR. Barbieri decided that talk radio was what he wanted to do.

Following the sale of KNBR by NBC to Susquehanna Radio Corp. in 1989, general manager Tony Salvadore gave Barbieri the “SportsPhone 68” nighttime sports-talk show after hearing him sub for Dave Newhouse. Salvadore wanted somebody more controversial. Eventually, Barbieri was shifted to the prized afternoon-drive slot as the station moved to a 24-hour all-sports format.

Barbieri is survived by his son, Tayte, and his sister, Annette Dell Osso of Novato.


San Francisco judge upholds eviction ban during pandemic

San Francisco has consistently been in the front lines  fighting for tenant rights.

Now that Dean Preston, long time tenant attorney, is a member of San Francisco’s legislative body the City is taking firm, substantive action to protect tenants.

Preston’s legislation has been affirmed by an Order signed by Judge Charles Haines.

It firmly places San Francisco on the correct side of decency and human rights for tenants.

San Francisco Chronicle 8.3.2020

A San Francisco Superior Court Judge upheld a city ordinance on Monday that prevents landlords from evicting tenants unable to pay rent or penalties during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A coalition of real estate industry and landlord groups — including the San Francisco Apartment Association, the San Francisco Association of Realtors and the Small Property Owners of San Francisco Institute — sued the city in June, claiming that the law was an unconstitutional overreach.

Judge Charles Haines flatly disagreed, ruling that the ordinance, authored by Supervisor Dean Preston, “is a permissible exercise” of the city’s power to regulate evictions “to promote public welfare.” He also ruled that the law did not conflict with state emergency orders, as the landlord and real estate groups contended.

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“This is a resounding victory for vulnerable tenants in San Francisco,” Preston said in a statement following the ruling.

“I  have said from the start, we will not stand by and watch thousands of San Franciscans become homeless because of a pandemic they cannot control, and I’m proud that our legislation has been upheld and vindicated in court,” he said.

Preston’s ordinance also prohibits landlords from charging late fees, penalties and interest related to delayed rent. It does not, however, prevent rent payments from accruing.

The organizations that sued the city argued in their suit that Preston’s legislation foisted an undue burden on housing providers, particularly landlords of smaller properties, who’ve also been hurt financially by the pandemic’s economic fallout.

“Small property owners who have not been able to collect rent since April are struggling with their own mortgages and expenses,” the statement read. “We are reviewing our options moving forward. In the meantime we remain hopeful that Congress will pass a relief package which includes meaningful financial support for renters and out-of-work individuals.”

Lawmakers are scrambling in Sacramento to stave off what many are forecasting to be an unprecedented wave of evictions brought on by the pandemic, and several bills are moving through the Legislature to prevent that from happening. An emergency judicial order that largely halted eviction proceedings for the past four months could end as soon as Aug. 14, heightening the sense of urgency in Sacramento.

One in 7 tenants in California did not pay rent on time last month, according a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, and nearly 1 in 6 doesn’t expect to pay on time in August either.

a hungry bug-catcher

Liz Heidhues is an astute chronicler of Art in the Pandemic era.

Shown here is her latest creation, “A Hungry Bug Catcher.”

Pictured below is an earlier Pandemic creation, “A silly bug,” Created March 18, 2020.

Posted one day after San Francisco began its Shelter in Place.

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Can you pledge patriotic allegiance to a void?

I read the following brief piece in the current issue of The New Yorker and was struck by question, “Can you pledge patriotic allegiance to a void?’

In the Dystopian era of a Pandemic, America in dissaray and Trump in mental free fall it’s a good question.

Edward Hopper IV 7.31.2020

The New Yorker 8.3-10.2020 

I haven’t seen this large show at the Beyeler Foundation, Switzerland’s premier museum of modern art.

I take its fine catalogue, “Edward Hopper: A Fresh Look at Landscape,” edited by the exhibition’s curator, Ulf Küster, as occasion enough for reflecting anew on the artist’s stubborn force. (A selection of Hopper’s paintings is also on view on the museum’s Web site.)

The visual bard of American solitude—not loneliness, a maudlin projection—speaks to our isolated states these days with fortuitous poignance. But Hopper is always doing that, pandemic or no pandemic. Aloneness is his great theme, symbolizing America: insecure selfhoods in a country that is only abstractly a nation. (“E pluribus unum,” a magnificent ideal, thuds on “unum” every day throughout the land.)

Edward Hopper V 7.31.2020

The emotional tug of all of Hopper’s characters requires their unawareness of being looked at. To see them is to take on a peculiar responsibility.

Can you pledge patriotic allegiance to a void? Hopper shows how, exploring a condition in which, by being separate, we belong together.

You don’t have to like the idea, but, once you’ve truly experienced this painter’s art, it is as impossible to ignore as a stone in your shoe.

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Trump’s gift to Putin. American GIs unilateral withdrawal from Germany

American forces in Germany are a staple of US-Russian geopolitical manuvering.

Trump’s unilateral withdrawal of troops from the geopolitical chess board is akin to surrendering your Queen in return for a Pawn.

It makes no sense. But then nothing the soon to be ex-President ever does. He probably thinks he’s irritating German Chancellor Angela Merkel.  Being far beyond him intellectually and politically, Merkels knows he’s an idiot prince and probably is saying, “Whatever,” to herself.

Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 7.29.2020

US Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed on Wednesday that troops would be pulled and relocated from Germany. The move is set to be the largest shake-up of troops in Germany since the Cold War.

Green party opposition politician Jürgen Trittin, who sits on the foreign affairs committee in parliament, told DW he believed the real motivation was not military or defense policy: “It’s more a part of the economic warfare Donald Trump is fighting against the European Union and especially the Germans,” Trittin alleged, calling for Germany to cancel plans to purchase new F-18 fighter jets from the US in response.

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Earlier this month, the Pentagon said that President Donald Trump had approved a plan to withdraw in the region of 9,500 US troops from Germany. But in Wednesday’s announcement, the first time the US set out concrete proposals on its “European Strategic Force Posture Review,” Esper tentatively put the number at 11,800.

Under the plan, the US will send home some 6,400 forces and relocate 5,400 out of Germany and to other European countries in Europe, the US Defense Department said. Roughly 25,000 troops are set to remain in Germany.

Read more:  US troop withdrawal a cause for NATO concern, German defense minister says

The reassignment envisages troops moving to Italy and Belgium, but some could also go to Poland and the Baltic states, if Warsaw agrees to an accord that the two sides have been working on, Esper said. The defense chief added the troop redeployment would cost in the “single digit” billions of dollars.

In a major shift, US European Command and Special Operations Command Europe would be moved from Stuttgart in Germany to Mons, Belgium, General Tod Wolters of European Command said.

Esper said that the troop reassignments were part of a larger plan to update US strategy against Russia. “We are following the boundary east, where our newest allies are,” the Defense Secretary said.

Esper did not explicitly say whether the decision to move troops had to do with President Trump’s comments regarding Germany. Trump has often criticized the European ally for not investing enough in defense and being “delinquent” in its NATO payments.

But Esper did back the president’s premise. “To give President Trump credit, we have seen an increase in defense spending by NATO,” the Defense Secretary said of White House efforts to get more countries to invest in NATO.

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Photo:  American GI Elvis Presley in Germany (cica late 1950’s)

Read more: US military in Germany: What you need to know

Earlier on Wednesday, Trump said the European ally “owes billions and billions of dollars to NATO.”

“Now Germany is saying it’s bad for their economy. Well, it’s good for our economy,” Trump said, referring to the consequences of the partial withdrawal. “They’ve been taking advantage of us for many years.”

“We don’t want to be the suckers any more,” the US president said, adding that he could “rethink” the plan “if they start paying their bills.”

The German government has said it expects to spend 1.37% of GDP on defense in 2020.  Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer recently questioned whether defense spending alone was a fair measure of NATO members’ contributions to the alliance.

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder criticized the US withdrawal plan, adding that it served no clear military purpose and would even weaken the NATO alliance and the US itself.

“Unfortunately, this puts a burden on the German-American relationship,” Söder said.

“We are now waiting to see if the decision will last,” he added, in reference to the US presidential election in November.