Saturday, April 30, 2011


Wine is more than a drink in this part of the US.
Aside from an industry, it is a culture.
Wine tasting is a recreational pursuit, often made
entertaining by those "tasting notes."
Ever wonder about them?

       For those who may have followed the local items 
about Tammy Rudock vs Fire Chief Mark Miller.
       The CCSD Board fired Ms. Rudock Friday evening.  Her dismissal is immediate.  
       The board will likely begin conversations with the former Chief, pending disposition of legal matters surrounding his being fired by the now deposed  manager.
See you down the trail.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Rain drops on a flower bed-one of those gift moments.

See you down the trail.

Thursday, April 28, 2011



       (Vets Hall) Standing room only and strong sentiment framed the CCSD Special Meeting.  Tammy Rudock and Mark Miller were the story line, but the players were the Cambrians who spoke, rallied and as a speaker said, "took the oxygen out of the room."
                 The main hall, above, and side area, below, had a fire department rep busy asking people to keep passage ways clear.
         Kathe Tanner wrote in The Cambrian the special meeting could draw a full house.  She was on target.  Tanner also reported Rudock might be fired or reprimanded. 
           The CCSD took public testimony before their special closed session examining Rudock's firing of Miller. 

        Speakers, some of them pictured in this post, ranged from analytical and measured to angry and pointed.  In aggregate they were strongly supportive and affectionate for Chief Miller and negative and hostile to Ms. Rudock. They advocated Miller's reinstatement.

        The lone voice in support of Ms. Rudock was former CCSD member Peter Chaldecott.  He spoke of his 6-8 years of working with her.  Chaldecott's endorsement drew boos from  the more vocal in the crowd.

        There were calls for Rudock's dismissal, reports of negative or hostile interactions with her and remarks about the economics of her employment.  Speaker John Byde said he'd help pay her severance package.
        Rudock was in her position and watched as speakers criticized her.

       Comments about Chief Miller were the polar opposite. Builders, property owners, business operators, the fireman's union, reserve officers association, former fire department leaders and  residents spoke glowingly about Miller's professionalism, cooperative attitude, leadership and personality.
      Following public testimony the board went into closed session and the crowd broke for coffee or lunch.

      When the board reconvened president Muril Clift announced there would be another closed session Friday evening when action would be taken regarding Ms. Rudock's handling of the Chief's dismissal.
       She has said only it was a personnel matter and would make no further comment.  Miller hired an attorney and is pursing legal recourse.
        Tanner reported in the Cambrian that "as of Monday, none of the five district board members had been told what specific actions had triggered Miller's dismissal."
         Cambrians  at the special meeting had no shortage of theory or comment on the motivations.
         In the afternoon session board member Allan MacKinnon
told of his high regard for Chief Miller.  
         The board moved to the issue of an interim fire Chief, pending resolution of the Miller dismissal and his status, the Rudock review and the current support given by Cal Fire.  
        An active duty fire fighter grilled the perplexed board about the chain of command. It was said despite suggestions to the contrary, Rudock was not the acting chief.  
        Board member Thompson wondered if Cal Fire could continue to provide acting chief support until the Miller-Rudock matter is resolved.  Cal Fire said it was under contract to  San Luis Obispo County and required compensation to provide the service.                              Eventually it passed that CCSD would contract with Cal Fire for a 30 day service contract at approximately 16 thousand dollars, the equivalent of the Chief's salary for a month.
        Lana and I were pleased to once again watch the community activate and participate in local governance.  We've learned there is a history of hub bub, rancor, division, debate and participation in this village.  
       After decades of reporting on government and politics, from   school boards to the Congress and Presidential elections, my favorite remains local government.  Cambria's local government is drama.  It is spirited, rich in diversity of viewpoint and it seems everyone is an expert.
       As a side note. I commend CCSD  for providing a format and time for the expression of views and for continuing to permit  comment, outbreaks of thought and a full voice even when in  deliberation of a resolution.  Good, because the input helped frame the board's discussion. It is tricky to stay on agenda and a resolution with comments from the peanut gallery, but it was well done today. No one should have left the Vets hall feeling they could not have been heard.  
            When a speaker suggested their might have been "a deal," board member Frank DeMicco castigated the speaker and made him clarify if he was speaking negatively about Cal Fire.  DeMicco
was blunt in saying this issue would not be played out in a short time or in the emotion of the moment.  Emotion certainly filled the Vets Hall.   
            The hero of the day was Steve Kniffen.  He was on the agenda to  report on efforts to secure public input and to improve  park space at the middle school.  Before he took the floor, we chatted in the alcove.  He said he thought he might want to delay, given the potential emotion in the room over the report on the closed special meeting on Rudock.   However the Board's report was anti climatic, or at least delayed the outcome by a day. When Steve's time came, he rose and took the opportunity of a full house to explain the shared CCSD, School District plan to secure federal funding.  He's the person who spoke of the previous issue taking "all of the oxygen in the room."  Steve's report was a bright spot and vision establishing.  A nice antidote. 
             All in all, a good show.  Stay tuned.


       (Lampton Cliff)  It is the kind of day that induces a meditative calm.  A thick sky, shades of blue-gray with a matching sea.  A mild surf works its perpetual beat and time is lulled away by the rhythm.  Our moment to observe is a brief interlude in the never ending wash of sea against rock.
The setting is primordial, etched with the power of changing ages, levels of the sea, tidal power and earth shifts.
We can only watch, content with our place, thrilled by each wave.
They are like snow flakes, no two are the same and part of an eternal pattern.
They utter the sound of the earth
the sea is the song of this planet.
It is the sculptor our shore

 A metronome to the seasons

The chiseler of rock

and the mother magnet of all water flow, even trickles.
 The brief interlude takes us  
 into cosmic time, beyond our own. It was before 
and will be after. 
A timeless dance and eventually
a lullaby. 

        Lana is probably the most resourceful person I know. Her late mother was her mentor. She finds purposes for what would be otherwise discarded material for projects, art and gardening.  Case in point:
       The shelves were given to her by another artist who found them discarded behind a shop. Now they are at work again in the potting niche along a garden wall beside the house.
       Lana says the work space is "hodgepodge." It is functional, utilitarian and recycles.  She says artists and gardeners are natural recyclers.  Indeed she and her group of artists and craftswomen, the Instigators, often do projects individually that make use of what could be or has been cast away.
      It requires another kind of creativity and it represents a healthy ethos. 
See you down the trail.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


but first
It was a journey of discovery, learning more about our adopted state. A thousand miles and lots of sights of the Golden State.
Along the way we found images that didn't seem to fit into a niche for a specific blog posting, so we've collected a few of them here.
Statuary, including the priest who started the missions
others with less defined purpose
and those that honor

We thought these two official portraits, hanging side by side some how represent the range of this state
Ronald Reagan to Jerry Brown-
variety of substance and style

and of course more natural beauty that we could imagine

in urban and wilderness settings

The color combination along the highway was magical

this is on the western slopes of the Sierra, lupin reigning over majestic mountain passes and valleys
I wish I could convey the feel of the mild breeze coming out of the mountain pass, warmed by a late afternoon sun and enriched by the fragrance
Here they stand as sentries overlooking a river gorge
Often people forget California is more than beaches, cities and cars.  It is the real and movie setting west-
you can go no further west.  It is also a land
of the big sky and wide open spaces

We enjoyed the cloud play
and took delight in the great California highways
away from the Freeways and Interstates

       Our colony of Italian bees from Glenn California seem to be thriving.  We will be checking soon to determine if the queen has been laying eggs.  In the meantime the colony seems active.
       Taking these photos gives me a chance to hear them well.  They zoom around as I move close, buzzing my ears.  I've heard no sign of an Italian accent yet
Stay tuned.

See you down the trail.