From the monthly archives: July 2011

By Chris Furguson
For five days, from July 20th until July 24th, the residents and businesses of downtown San Diego were, for the 42nd time, invaded by fans of animation, science fiction, fantasy, television and comic books for the 2011 San Diego Comic Con.  All in all, over 130,000 men, women and children of all ages, visited the city during the five-day event.
People like Keiko, a 19-year old student from the Akihabara district in Tokyo, Japan.  Keiko is an aspiring “manga-ka,” or Japanese comic book (manga) artist.
“I came to San Diego to expose myself to the Western-style of comic books,” said Keiko.  “The more I learn about other styles, the more I can do and better I will be in my career.”
Others come to Comic-Con to indulge in their hidden hobbies when being a fan of certain things does not quite meet what the “real world” demands.
Ernest, a copyright attorney in California, spends his time at the convention wearing a Ghostbusters costume, complete with movie-accurate proton backpack and other props.
“My clients and peers would give me a second look if they saw me here,” said Ernest who admitted to owning his own replica of the Ecto-1 car and other movie props and replicas.  “I love the Ghostbusters, though, and I can express it here with no worries about being judged.”
Still, others come for the opportunity to buy items they can’t find anywhere else.
This year, Gentle Giant Studios, a company known for making action figures using laser-accurate life scans, had several figures available for sale, including statues of characters from the recent film “Sucker Punch.”  Mattel, the toy giant, had figures from Ghostbusters and other projects for sale as did Hasbro and other manufacturers.
Jay, a toy seller, had some of his new and old stock available for sale in the convention’s outer areas.  Jay owns a comic book and toy business in the Northwest part of the country.
“Sure, I come here to get my hands on the exclusives the major players sell,” explained Jay.  “But I’m also here to get rid of some of my stock from home.  I always leave with less than I brought in.”
Then, there are those who express their devotion by waiting in line.  Jessica, a young woman just past 19, had been waiting in line to see a panel discussion on the new “Twilight” film “Breaking Dawn” since Wednesday night.  Many before her had been in line since Monday, prior to getting their badges.
“I love everything ‘Twilight,” said Jessica, clutching her pillow.  “But I don’t love it as much as those guys,” she added, pointing to the ones in front of the line.
Surprisingly, the next morning saw members of the “Breaking Dawn” cast provide breakfast (muffins, bananas, apples and water) to some of the faithful along with photo opportunities and autographs.
“That was so cool of them,” added Jessica the following morning.
The 2012 San Diego Comic-Con will run from July 12 through July 15 with Preview Night on July 11, 2012.


Pine Valley, Calif. — U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Interstate 8 checkpoint near Pine Valley, Calif., spoiled two drug smuggling attempts yesterday resulting in the seizure of nearly three quarters of a million dollars of crystal methamphetamine. Border Patrol agents also made two marijuana seizures on Tuesday valued at nearly $160,000.

Crystal meth hidden in car engine.
Nearly $166,000 of crystal meth.

At approximately 3 a.m., agents encountered the 23-year-old male United States citizen driver of a gold 1999 Chevrolet Lumina as he arrived at the checkpoint. During inspection, agents became suspicious of the man’s nervous demeanor and referred him for a secondary inspection.

During inspection, agents noticed anomalies around the engine of the vehicle. Agents searched the vehicle and discovered numerous plastic bags of crystal methamphetamine hidden inside of the engine compartment totaling 5.82 pounds with an estimated street value of $104,760.

Hidden meth in non-factory compartment.
Agents discovered an access door to a non-factory compartment.

The second seizure took place at 9 a.m., when agents assigned to the checkpoint encountered the driver of a gold Chrysler 300. Agents noticed the driver, a 22-year-old male United States citizen, appeared nervous and referred him for a secondary inspection. A Border Patrol K-9 team performed a cursory inspection of the vehicle resulting in a positive alert to the trunk and rear bumper.

Agents searched the vehicle and discovered an access door to a non-factory compartment near the spare tire containing a total of 30 cellophane-wrapped bundles of crystal methamphetamine. A total of 35.05 pounds was discovered with an estimated street value of $630,900.

The suspected smugglers and drugs in both incidents were taken into custody and subsequently turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The vehicles were seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

On Tuesday afternoon at about 12:30 p.m., agents assigned to the I-8 checkpoint also seized 146.7 pounds of marijuana worth an estimated $88,000. The marijuana was discovered after a Border Patrol K-9 team alerted to an auxiliary fuel tank in the bed of a white 2003 Ford F-150. A 29-year-old male U.S. citizen and his 22-year-old Mexican female passenger were arrested as a result of the incident. The suspected smugglers and marijuana were turned over to a multi-agency drug taskforce. The Ford F-150 was seized by the U.S. Border Patrol.

One hour later, agents on patrol near San Clemente, Calif., seized 114.53 pounds of marijuana worth nearly $69,000. A Border Patrol K-9 team alerted to the rear passenger door of a gray 1998 Dodge Dakota. Agents searched the vehicle and discovered a total of 25 bundles of marijuana hidden inside the door. Two male Mexican nationals were arrested as a result of the smuggling attempt. The suspected smugglers and marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

To prevent illicit smuggling of humans, drugs, and other contraband, the U.S. Border Patrol maintains a high level of vigilance on major corridors of egress away from our nation’s borders. Since October 1, 2010, San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents have seized more than 65,000 pounds of marijuana and 317 pounds of methamphetamine.

Border Agent Robert Rosas: EOW – July 23, 2009
Campo, CA


In observance of the two year anniversary of the death of Border Agent Robert Rosas, We The People, California’s Crusader, supporting coalitions and concerned citizens will honor the memory of slain Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas at a July 23, 2011 memorial and candlelight vigil.  Agent Robert Rosas was murdered by illegal alien border crossers on the date of July 23, 2009, Campo, CA, at the U.S. Mexico border fence.


Beloved husband and father, Border Agent Robert Rosas is survived by his wife and two small children.


“U.S. Border Agent Robert Rosas was killed in the line of duty, Campo, CA – at the U.S. Mexico border fence – on July 23, 2009. The death of Agent Rosas, at the hands of illegal aliens, crossing the border is a murder that was committed in Campo, CA, but perpetrated in Washington, D.C., by our government not securing the border, by our government not securing the interior of the United States,” Raymond Herrera said.

“The failure of the federal government to stem the illegal alien intrusion on U.S. soil, has emboldened illegal aliens along the U.S. Mexico border,” Herrera said.

Multiple illegal border crossers are suspected shooters in the case.  Mexican teen Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez, 17 – who testified that he lured Agent Rosas out of his vehicle – pleaded guilty to the execution-styled murder, and was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Two illegal border crossers, suspects in the murder investigation, remain at large.
“We will honor Agent Rosas’ memory by raising the awareness of  the plight of Border Agent Robert Rosas’ family, his wife and children, and celebrate the life of an American hero,” Herrera said. “We invite everyone to join us in Temecula – to honor this courageous border agent who gave his life for his country.”


After a memorial program,  a candlelight vigil, dedicated to the slain border agent, will be staged in front of the Temecula Duck Pond Park, honoring the second anniversary of the date of his death.
“Agent Rosas is an American hero,” Herrera said. “It is with sorrow and gratitude that we will honor our fallen hero.”

Date: Saturday, July 23, 2011


Time: 7pm


Location: In front of the Temecula Duck Pond Park

28250 Rancho California Road

Temecula, CA


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Is There No End To Federal Meddling? Some Trivial Matters

WHENEVER THE GOVERNMENT gets the urge to do something it shouldn’t it decides to sneak through something totally irrelevant that is designed to annoy most everybody.
It’s the old we’ll-wipe-your nose-for-you-because-we don’t-think-you’re-smart-enough-to-do-it-yourself routine.
I read a couple of newspaper articles over the weekend and one of them concerned Congress’ efforts to get rid of incandescent light bulbs.
What could that possibly have to do with anything relevant? Well, the smart guys in Washington, DC want to tell you what kind of light bulb you can buy.
Seems they think they can make the whole world more energy efficient by digging around in your hall closet and getting those old style bulbs out and the new-fangled curly-cue fluorescent bulbs put in.
For once the Republicans have it right. Stay the hell out of everybody’s closet. People can decide for themselves if they want to use the more expensive fluorescent bulbs or the cheaper, but less efficient incandescent bulbs.
This is a free country isn’t it? We are still capable of choosing what kind of light bulb we want, aren’t we?
“But its good for you!” Cry the more government control guys. Its bad for all those folks building incandescent bulbs, though.
Fortunately, it looks like its will be lights out on this frivolous proposal, but watch out. Congress has a habit of bringing bad ideas back again.
Let’s hope a light bulb goes on over Congress’ collective head and they start coming up with something better than this.

THE SECOND ARTICLE THAT CAUGHT MY attention on a lazy Sunday morning when it was rapidly getting too hot to go outside:  A Native American was fined for cutting cattails in a pond that was located on Native lands and that he used to show other Native Americans how to shape duck decoys with.
Seems there’s a law against cutting a certain type of cattails that the bureaucrats love to use to harass any of us who get too close to them.
In this case the Indian refused to to pay the fine and the government had to back down.
It’s incident s like this that send people into a dither over government services.
The first thing the Gov. does, in that case, is to threaten our basic services. Of course, losing your social security and Medicare is less important than cutting out light bulbs and cattails.
If people would get some serious thinking going instead of ridiculous, self-serving personal stubbornness, then maybe people would get some respect for government again.
Let’s hope so before they close the whole thing down.

In the 400’s a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb.
Hence we have ‘the rule of thumb’.
Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled ‘Gentlemen Only…Ladies Forbidden’.. .and thus, the word GOLF entered into the English language.
The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV was Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the  U.S. Treasury.
Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.
Coca-Cola was originally green.
It is impossible to lick your elbow.
The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work:  Alaska
The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this…)
The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%
The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $16,400
The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour:
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair..
The first novel ever written on a typewriter,  Tom Sawyer.
The  San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades – King David
Hearts – Charlemagne
Clubs  -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds – Julius Caesar



By Kate Campbell
Assistant Editor

After months of uncertainty, a bill signed by Gov. Brown last week reinstates a revised Williamson Act program intended to preserve the state’s landmark farmland-conservation law. Brown signed Assembly Bill 1265 by Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, which establishes the revised form of the Williamson Act through 2016.

The bill, which takes effect immediately, authorizes counties to revise the term for Williamson Act contracts from 10 years to nine years or from 20 to 18 years—a 10 percent reduction in contract length in return for retaining 90 percent of the property tax relief offered by the act.

“For more than 45 years, the Williamson Act has served as an effective conservation program that helps farmers withstand development pressures and stay in farming,” California Farm Bureau Federation President Paul Wenger said. “We applaud the governor for upholding the real benefits of the Williamson Act.”

The act became law in 1965 and protects 16.5 million acres of California farmland. Named for its author, Kern County Assemblyman John Williamson, the law requires farmland enrolled in the program to be assessed on its production value, rather than its “factored base-year value” under Proposition 13. Participating landowners agree to retain their land in agricultural use for the length of the contract.

For many years, the state reimbursed participating counties their foregone property tax revenue. But those payments, known as subventions, became a frequent bargaining point in state budget talks and eventually were eliminated.

That caused some counties to consider discontinuing the Williamson Act. Farm Bureau proposed the program contained in AB 1265 as an alternative to encourage counties to maintain the Williamson Act.

Wenger said the law signed by the governor “will save farmers and ranchers throughout California millions of dollars in property taxes and we’re glad he signed it. The benefits to all Californians include locally produced food and contracts that ensure land enrolled in the program cannot be used for any purpose besides agriculture.”

Having the law officially back on the books is especially important for eight counties that have already adopted the revised version of the farmland protection program. Kings, Madera, Merced, Mendocino, Shasta, Stanislaus, Tulare and Yolo counties all adopted an earlier version of the program under Senate Bill 863 last year, only to see it repealed in March as part of budget legislation. The governor’s action means the counties currently participating in the program can continue to implement the shorter-term contracts for the 2011 tax year.

The provisions of the alternative funding mechanism include:

• If counties receive less than one-half of their foregone General Fund property tax revenue from the Open Space Subvention Program, they would be authorized to implement a new provision of the Williamson Act to allow contracts to go from 10 years to nine years or, in the case of 20-year Williamson Act contracts, to 18 years.

• The 10 percent reduction in the length of the contract restrictions would trigger a recapture of 10 percent of the participating landowners’ property tax savings.

• Any increased revenues generated by properties under a new contract will be paid to the county. Because the increased revenue will be allocated exclusively to counties, they would recoup 50 percent or more of their foregone property tax revenue.

• Landowners may choose not to renew their contracts and begin the termination process.

“The eight participating counties can expect to recoup $6 million in revenue through this revised program,” said John Gamper, CFBF taxation and land use director. “Once adopted by counties, the program’s operations should be pretty simple.”

At the same time, the benefits to the public of protecting farmland have been retained, Wenger said.

“Besides locally produced food, experts agree agriculture will provide economic stimulus for the foreseeable future,” he said. “We’ve reached a point where people understand how significant food production is and that in California the pressures on farmland and farmers are intense, which tends to drive up land values.

“The Williamson Act helps address some of those issues and at the same time preserves open space for species and habitat protection,” Wenger said. “And, with the revised Williamson Act signed by the governor, funds to cover subventions to counties for foregone property tax no longer come from the state’s General Fund, but the benefits to farmers and the public remain.”

Along with acknowledging Nielsen’s role in introducing the bill, CFBF Administrator Rich Matteis noted that Sens. Lois Wolk, D-Davis, and Doug La Malfa, R-Richvale, both served as principal co-authors.

“Of course, we also want to express our sincere appreciation to Gov. Brown for helping to save this valuable land conservation program,” Matteis said, “and to all the members of the Save the Williamson Act Coalition who worked diligently for re-enactment of the law.”

In a prepared statement, Nielsen said the new law “will provide peace of mind and hope for the future for our hard-working California farm families and their employees.”

(Kate Campbell is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. She may be contacted at

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.

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