A White Man’s World

On April 29th, 1992, a Ventura County judge acquitted four LAPD officers of beating Rodney King. Reasonable force. More than 50 swings of a baton (a baton is made from wood, plastic, rubber, or metal; they function well in regards to breaking windows to rescue victims in driving cars or blazing buildings--imagine that force). Batons …

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My Greatest Loves, and Greatest Losses

Carrizo plains saw a lot of tourists this season, thanks to California storms that quenched our thirsty soils and watered the lands. And in the last couple of weeks, it's seen a lot of trampled flower heads, which is a little frustrating. Not that I didn't trample a few myself from the overwhelming excitement of …

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One Rose in a One-Stop Town

McFarland, California. A small town of about 13,010, located in Kern County, straddling the 99. McFarland is known for a Cancer Cluster in the mid 80’s, which took the lives of over a dozen children, and its Cross Country Team, which ought to tell you something. When the best sport is running, you can’t help …

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Post-Apocalyptic Poster Child: The Salton Sea Chronicles, Part 3

Last October, seismologists discovered a second fault line running parallel to the San Andreas, cutting right through the Salton Sea. Which means things may get a lot shakier than they already are. And so, at the risk of having California's next great natural disaster placed on my shoulders, and at the plea of a couple …

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Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home: The Salton Sea Chronicles, Part 2

There's one restaurant here. Aside from a Jack in the Box and a sandwich shop that looks closed, but no one can be entirely certain. No one remembers eating there, and although the sign at the door says open, there are no cars in the lot, or any signs of life, for that matter. It …

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Puke on a Hot Sidewalk: The Salton Sea Chronicles, Part 1

Puke on a hot sidewalk.  This is the smell of the Salton Sea. Rotten eggs, perhaps, is a more familiar notion. In 1906, attempts to bring water into the Imperial Valley from the Colorado River failed, and a strange little ocean was born in the desert. Contractors didn't account for the massive buildup of silt, …

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