Wall Street Journal snarky editorial on soon to be VP Kamala Harris

The 8.11.2020 WSJ editorial hi-lights or low-lights depending on your perspective.

Mr. Biden’s choice is especially important because he would be the oldest President on Inauguration Day at age 78. The actuarial tables and his declining mental acuity suggest he wouldn’t run for re-election, assuming he lasts a full term.

She’s a political lifer who rose through the patronage machine of former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown.

Ms. Harris ran for President this year but washed out quickly despite being a media favorite as the candidate from central casting.

She’s progressive but malleable.

The Sanders wing pressed for a progressive, and Ms. Harris is a safer choice by far than Elizabeth Warren.

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The entire editorial can be found by opening the link.

WSJ Editorial – Kamala Harris VP 8.11.2020

Kamala Harris the VP choice. San Francisco is on the political map again

San Francisco, again. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Senator Dianne Feinstein. Governor Gavin Newsom.

Now the former San Francisco District Attorney, California Attorney General and currently Senator Kamala Harris is the VP in waiting.

Breaking News 4.15.2019

Excerpted from Buzz Feed News – 8.11.2020

The California senator, who ran for president herself this year, will be the first Black woman on a major party presidential ticket.

Joe Biden has chosen Sen. Kamala Harris of California, at one point his most critical rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, to be his running mate.

“You make a lot of important decisions as president,” Biden said in an email to supporters Tuesday afternoon. “But the first one is who you select to be your Vice President. I’ve decided that Kamala Harris is the best person to help me take this fight to Donald Trump and Mike Pence and then to lead this nation starting in January 2021.”

“I need someone working alongside me who is smart, tough, and ready to lead,” Biden wrote in the email. “Kamala is that person.”Harris is likely to serve Biden’s campaign as both a weapon against Trump and a liaison on important issues of criminal justice and policing reform. As the former top prosecutor in San Francisco and later for the state of California, Harris had built her own presidential bid as a prosecution of Trump, with a national profile that was elevated by her grilling of Trump administration officials during Senate hearings.

Calif. Supremes restore full damages to man killed after police knelt on his neck

There may be a new day dawning for Justice.

The days of cops literally getting away with murder are at long last being scrutinized by the courts.

A man murdered by cops eight years ago in Compton, CA is no longer with us. At least his family has received some Justice.

The California Supreme Court has put down an emphatic marker to these rogue cops.  Cops must behave like decent humans or pay the price.

San Francisco Chronicle – Bob Egelko – 8.10.2020

The family of a man who died after a sheriff’s deputy knelt on his back and neck is entitled to a full damage award from the county that employed the officer, even though the man was found partly responsible for his own death, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

Olu Orange, a lawyer for three of Darren Burley’s children, said the ruling “restores one of the most powerful tools Black and brown Californians have in pursuing justice against police officers who kill people they are sworn to protect.”

“California principles of comparative fault have never required or authorized the reduction of an intentional tortfeasor’s liability based on the acts of others,” Justice Ming Chin said in the unanimous ruling, using the legal term for wrongdoer.

In a separate opinion, Justice Goodwin Liu compared the African American man in this case, Darren Burley, to another Black man, George Floyd, killed by a Minneapolis policeman who knelt on his neck in May. That officer, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with murder, and three other officers are charged with aiding him. No officers have been charged with crimes in Burley’s death.

Darren Burley II 8.10.2020.jpg

“Variants of this fact pattern have occurred with distressing frequency throughout the country and here in California,” said Liu, joined by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.

While the ruling provides “a measure of monetary relief to Burley’s family,” they said, “it does not acknowledge the troubling racial dynamics that have resulted in state-sanctioned violence, including lethal violence, against Black people throughout our history.”

The Supreme Court also noted that President Trump’s administration “has sharply curbed enforcement of existing agreements” reached by President Barack Obama’s administration with numerous police departments requiring court-supervised measures to halt excessive force and racial bias.

Los Angeles County deputies were called to the scene of a reported assault in Compton in August 2012 and said they saw Burley, 29, walking stiffly and growling under the apparent influence of drugs. When a woman shouted that Burley had attacked her, he started chasing her, and officers pursued him and threw him to the ground.

After an exchange of blows, the court said, Deputy David Aviles, who weighed 200 pounds, pressed one knee on Burley’s back and another on the back of his head. A second officer knelt on Burley’s legs, and others shot him with a Taser stun gun. Burley went limp, lost consciousness, and was taken to a hospital, where he died 10 days later.

In a damage suit by Burley’s estranged wife and five children, a jury awarded $8 million in damages for their pain and suffering. Jurors also said Aviles had used unreasonable force and was 20% responsible for Burley’s death, other deputies were 40% responsible and Burley himself was 40% responsible.

A 1986 state ballot measure, Proposition 51, said damages in civil lawsuits based on “comparative fault” would be shared among the responsible parties, with each paying only its share of the fault. The measure did not say whether it applied to all civil suits, but the court said Prop. 51 should not be interpreted to shield intentional wrongdoers from paying 100% of the damages.

A state appeals court, citing Prop. 51, reduced the family’s damages by 40%, or $3.2 million. But the state’s high court said the ballot measure did not relieve an intentional wrongdoer — in this case, Aviles and his employer — of full responsibility for “non-economic” harm such as pain and suffering.

The county’s lawyer could not be reached for comment.

The case is B.B. vs. Los Angeles County, S250734.



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.”

Nudist in Berlin II 8.7.2020.jpg

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.

Sean Monterrosa II 8.6.2020.jpg

“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.