Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, September 7, 2019

MVNews this week:  Page 11



Mountain View News Saturday, September 7, 2019 





Susan Henderson


Dean Lee 



Patricia Colonello




John Aveny 



Mary Lou Caldwell

Kevin McGuire

Chris Leclerc

Bob Eklund

Howard Hays

Paul Carpenter

Kim Clymer-Kelley

Christopher Nyerges

Peter Dills 

Rich Johnson

Lori Ann Harris

Rev. James Snyder

Dr. Tina Paul

Katie Hopkins

Deanne Davis

Despina Arouzman

Jeff Brown

Marc Garlett

Keely Toten

Dan Golden

Rebecca Wright

Hail Hamilton

Joan Schmidt

LaQuetta Shamblee


 Long ago and far away I made a decision to 
move to Sierra Madre Canyon. I had a Law Office 
in El Monte and one day the smog cleared and I 
could see there were mountains to the north. I 
drove up Double Double Drive (Santa Anita to us 
now) and followed some car and found my way 
into the Canyon. This Canyon was a long way 
from El Monte and even further from Venice from 
where I was then commuting. If you don’t know 
from Venice you should take a “trip” down there 
some time. That’s my idea of a joke because at that 
time pot was a big deal in Venice. It was a place to 
get high with UCLA Basketball players and to go to the topless beach and 
to---enough about Venice, let’s talk about Sierra Madre which I believe was 
developed by the same guy who developed the Venice Canals. One last 
word about Venice at that time there were signs that read “Keep Our Slum 
Clean”. Now I think those same places are worth millions.

 Back to Sierra Madre I followed some car up Mountain Trail and 
was overcome by the beautiful purple foliage of the Jacaranda which I’m 
still not sure how to pronounce or when they become purple. I thought 
if I lived here among this purple beauty I would never be unhappy again. 
Well, as you might have guessed, the foliage didn’t stay purple and I didn’t 
exactly avoid unhappiness. First of all that first year I remember it was 
incredibly hot, sort of like this summer, except that 40 years ago my house 
was a little cabin with a flat roof and I, and most other people did not have 
air conditioning. Can you imagine that—no air conditioning? I think that 
was why there were more people in the streets then except that the streets 
of the canyon were so different then. The houses were small 50 and sixty 
year old cabins with huge oak, cypress, and pepper trees around them. The 
roads were largely untraveled and there were no giant SUVs or ridiculously 
large delivery trucks on the road. 

 Along these roads were piles of dog feces and in the roads were sometimes 
packs of domestic dogs, unleashed but still loved in the 1970”s way. The 
main thing one noticed about the Canyon then was how quiet it was. It’s 
not quiet anymore and no Canyonite would ever allow his or her dog to 
would walk the Canyon Circle unleashed and unaccompanied by an owner 
with a ready supply of doggie bags to do what must be done. Of course 
today there are no dog feces to be seen but more than occasionally there 
appear huge piles of seemingly smoking bear excretia and quite frequently 
there are huge bears strolling around. Really! We true Sierra Madreites 
live with the realization that this land of ours really belong to the animals 
and we co-exist with the bears, the deer, the raccoons, the coyotes, snakes 
and the occasional mountain lion that appear in front of our houses. Yes, 

 A mountain lion really ate the little dog that lived across the street that 
despite my warnings was often left unleashed. Oh I forgot to tell you about 
the huge land tortoises that live a few houses away in their own igloo 
shelter. My wife once played a heroic role when she chanced upon the large 
tortoise that that had been turned upon his back by a bear. I wasn’t there 
but, from what I understand, my wife shooed the bear away and turned 
the tortoise over returning him to his usual position. At this same location 
the same bear or other bears had pulled the fish from the fish pond while 
hawks had somehow attacked the aviary and devoured or at least disturbed 
the finches. The birds are still flying around over the canyon and the owls 
and annoying parrots that used to be in regular attendance are rarely seen 
for which we are all grateful. The parrots were absurdly annoying and 
I observed them flying near the dogs in the back yard next door while 
imitating dog sounds just to annoy the loyal and normally docile pets. 
What else is semi-annoying is the new crop of young children that have 
appeared in the canyon. For a long time there were no children around at 
all and this summer there seem to be a huge herd of very young kids riding 
up and down the streets on their scooters and trikes and bikes. None of 
these kids walk to school but instead are driven to school by their parents. 
The parents seem unconcerned about the kids racing up and down the 
streets(of course they are all colorfully helmeted) but it is now considered 
unsafe for the kids to walk to School or take busses as they did for decades.

 A final word about the houses. At one time all the residences were small 
cabins but over the four decades that I have been here the cabins have 
been torn down and enlarged to become multi-storied edifices blocking 
the neighbor’s view. These large residences at one time housed two parent 
families with multiple offspring. Now as the children age and go off to 
college and divorce occurs the large places often have only one person in 
them. What am I doing complaining about there being too many under-
occupied homes and there being too many children at the same time. 

 Well, what can I tell you? I’ve gotten old and irritable but still want to 
scream at the top of my lungs, I LOVE THE CANYON and would not want 
to live anywhere else (unless perhaps you can find a place overlooking the 
ocean in Palos Verdes where you can see and hear the passing migrating 
whales. My wife’s friends live in a place like that and I can’t stop thinking 
about it.) A final word about the Canyon, I can now hear the tortoises 
mating and the kids applauding. What a wonderful place to be. 

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President Donald Trump wants a wall. It just may not 
be the one his supporters thought they signed up for 
back in 2016.

Already walled off from the truth and effectively 
blockaded from reality, Trump has been apparently 
unable to construct a barrier high enough to ward off 
four Democratic 2020 hopefuls who led him by double 
digits in a Quinnipiac University poll this week.

The Connecticut-based university’s latest canvass showed former Vice 
President Joe Biden and senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and 
Kamala Harris respectively holding 16-, 14-, 12-, and 11-point advantages 
in hypothetical match-ups.

So, it wasn’t at all surprising to see Trump, likely in response, ratcheting up 
his demands to finish his long-promised wall at America’s southern border 
with Mexico.

The administration is “[fast-tracking] billions of dollars’ worth of construction 
contracts, aggressively [seizing] private land and [disregarding] 
environmental rules,” so it can get the job done before next November, the 
Washington Post reported, citing current and former officials with knowledge 
of the matter.

Fast-tracking contracts and blowing off environmental rules are absolutely 
the kind of thoughtless and willful disregard for legislative and political 
norms we’ve come to expect from this wrecking ball of a White House.

And perhaps unsurprisingly, the former real estate developer turned president 
is engaging in a massive government land grab, through eminent domain, so 
he can satisfy his edifice complex.

Trump has reportedly batted aside any regulatory or legal concerns, telling his staff 
(jokingly, they say, but who knows?) that he’ll pardon them if they break the law on 
the way to finishing the wall.

But it’s clear that concerns about the 2020 campaign are firing Trump’s ardor to deliver 
on 500 miles of promised border barrier before the polls open. Trump has reportedly 
said failing to finish the wall would be a massive political embarrassment.

As the Post reports, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has only completed about 
60 miles’ worth of construction - all of it in areas that had preexisting border 

And that’s more than two years into Trump’s presidency. Assuming that means 
there’s 440 miles of construction left, that’s an impossibly high bar to cross in the 
14 months that remain until Election Day.

As the Post notes, the administration has rushed contracts and allowed construction 
companies to drag heavy equipment into environmentally sensitive areas - and 
justified it on national security grounds.

As if to underline the absurdity of the whole affair, Trump acknowledged to lawmakers 
last year that actual immigration reform and enhanced border security are 
more effective than a physical barrier.

But he’s also remarked on the applause his tough talk on the wall gets him at his 
campaign rallies.

Bread, meet circuses. We believe the two of you each know the other?

That naked calculus should be reminder enough that what really fires the president 
is not what’s good for the nation or national security, but rather what’s good for 
Donald J. Trump.

Such was the case in Biarritz earlier this week when the leader of the free world shed 
his constitutional responsibilities to shamelessly pitch his Florida golf resort to the 
leaders of the G7 nations like some late-night infomercial host.

In a cringeworthy moment as the world press looked on, Trump extolled the banquet 
rooms, parking, and seclusion of his Doral resort.

“It’s got tremendous acreage, many hundreds of acres, so we can handle whatever 
happens,” Trump said, according to the New York Times. “People are really liking 
it and plus it has buildings that have 50 to 70 units. And so each delegation can have 
its own building.”

Given Trump’s obsession with aesthetics and superlatives, it’s no great shock to 
learn that he’s been taking a hands-on interest in the appearance of his border wall, 
apparently insisting that it be painted black and be sharp and pointy on top like a 
medieval fortress or something.

And much like a parent who’s decided to just give in and placate an overtired child, 
the Army Corps of Engineers is going to tell contractors to just go ahead and paint 
it black, the Post reported.

Maybe, someday, as Mick Jagger once sang about painting something else black, 
Trump will “fade away and not face facts.” The rest of us, however, won’t be so 

Trump will build a wall. And we’ll all be paying for it.

-An award-winning political journalist, John L. Micek is Editor-in-Chief of The Pennsylvania 
Capital-Star in Harrisburg, Pa. Email him at 
and follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek.

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