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The Roman Pool at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA. Photo by Dante Atkins

It was a brutal, nasty campaign. The type that makes a campaign manager want to take a shower after the exhausted late-night drives home at the end of each increasingly stressful day. The type that reminds you that conservative Republicans aren't the only ones who like to play dirty. The type that makes you realize that small campaigns often produce the most outsized personalities. And the type that makes you arrive at the campaign office on GOTV weekend saying, "in a few days, this will finally all be over."

That campaign manager, as you may surmise, was me. And a few weeks before election day, my girlfriend and I decided that we would celebrate the end of the campaign by getting out of Dodge (or, more accurately, Los Angeles) and taking a drive all the way to Seattle and back, seeing friends and sights along the way.

Yes, that is 1,200 miles, not counting side trips.
On the trip, we stopped at Hearst Castle, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Portland before ending up at our final destination. The trip was a real eye-opener (and not just at the realization of how much a small excess in miles per hour will allow you to personally fund the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court). There's nothing quite like a drive through beautiful State Parks, unspoiled coastline, snowy mountains, rainy forests and three gorgeous liberal cities to make one realize just what it is that we, as progressives, are fighting so hard to preserve.

To begin with, it is hard to look at vast expanses of asphalt stretching for a seemingly endless number of miles without being awed and amazed by what it must have taken to get it there, so I must begin by saying that the very trip we undertook would not have been possible without that taxpayer-funded, big-government, socialist institution known as the Interstate Highway System, which was until very recently the largest public works project in the history of the world. Imagine what Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachman would have had to say to President Eisenhower about that back in the day, and how analogous that may be to the current tussle over funding for high-speed rail, which is the new contentious debate over interstate transit in California and many other parts of the country.

Our first stop was at Hearst Castle along the Central Coast of California. And while I might not be a fan of William Randolph, I am certainly a fan of his castle. In the early 20th century, the publishing magnate decided to commit a significant portion of his massive fortune to building a palatial estate in the hills near San Simeon, featuring a main house with hundreds of rooms, several guesthouses, and an outdoor pool with a view toward the Pacific that is nothing short of spectacular. Back then, it entertained all the newsworthy people of his day; today, in its preserved and restored state as a California State Park, it entertains all of us who are looking for an experience that can rival or even surpass a tour of some of Europe's best castles. It leaves one to wonder whether the Koch brothers or any of the other massively wealthy people in our era will leave behind monuments that will entertain visitors long after their deaths (Koch Castle, anyone?)

But for how much longer? A few years ago, the number of tours offered at Hearst Castle had to be reduced by 10% for budget cuts. There is a backlog of repairs that need to be done, and private donations and volunteer power can only go so far. Hearst Castle offers tours to hundreds of thousands of visitors per year. Imagine the devastation to the local economy if Hearst Castle were forced to close for budget cuts. Unthinkable? If California's budget situation continues to deteriorate, you can bet that closure or privatization will be considered for this, and for other state parks. Keeping monuments like this open is part of what California progressives are fighting for in our seemingly endless struggles over the California budget.

A stop in Sacramento offered another inside into the struggle for the future of California. We stopped on the way to Portland to see the Capitol building and do a few surprise drop-ins on some friends in a couple of legislative offices. But as we approached, we saw the building covered with the flashing sirens of police cars keeping order at a large student demonstration.

Sacramento protest
Students protest in the rain outside the State Capitol in Sacramento
California's State Parks aren't the only institution threatened by budget cuts; these thousands of students had braved the rain to fight for their own right to an educated future.

We didn't have time to tarry and join the protest; we had a schedule to keep. The highest point on Interstate 5 is the Siskiyou Pass just north of the border between California and Oregon. It's over 4,000 feet in elevation, and in mid-March, there's a decent probability of snow or ice after dark, which doesn't exactly constitute ideal conditions for a Prius with no traction tires. But we made it up and over—and after a day spent in Portland visiting the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, as well as Powell's City of Books (two things progressives can't get enough of: science and bookstores!) it was up to Seattle for a brief two-day stay.

The history of Seattle was shaped in an enormous way by struggles between the government and private businesses regarding the public infrastructure of the City, and similar debates are continuing today. In the 1890s, after a huge fire destroyed most of the existing buildings in the city, civic administrators decided they were going to start from scratch and build things the right way. Previously, the heart of Seattle had been built at such an elevation that at high tide, counterpressure from Puget Sound would reverse the sewer system and cause the gravity-operated toilets to flush up, instead of down. After the fire, the city made a decision to raise the level of the entire city to prevent that from happening. But the process would have taken several years, and the businesses didn't want to wait that long to rebuild, and the city had no leverage over them. So the businesses rebuilt at the same level, but the city rebuilt the streets a level higher! If you wanted to go across the street, you literally had to walk out the door, climb a ladder onto the street, and then climb another ladder down to ground level. Eventually, the streets were connected through hollow sidewalks to the second level of the buildings, which then became the new ground floor, but the original first floor underneath the new sidewalks still existed as what was called the "Underground." This Underground housed a good deal of underground businesses until it was finally closed off for good during World War II, but they still let the tourists in.

Pioneer Square-McGinn
A tattoo parlor in Pioneer Square drops the f-bomb on Mayor McGinn
These days, downtown Seattle is the subject of different debates over transportation policy. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn is heavily focused on making Seattle a more sustainable and less car-dependent city, but his methods of achieving it certainly aren't popular with what we could call the "business community"—and once again, over 100 years later, the heart of Seattle is at the center of the debate. (Full disclosure: during our say in Seattle, we were houseguests of Robert Cruickshank, who works in communications for Mayor McGinn.) To begin with, parking rates have been increased in downtown, which certainly has not made everyone in Pioneer Square happy. But secondly, McGinn is opposing a tunnel for car traffic in and out of downtown that would replace aging infrastructure, believing that the city should not be on the hook for any cost overruns the project incurs, and should instead be investing in public transportation infrastructure that will reduce dependence cars for those desiring to get downtown.
Space Needle
A big needle that leads to space
Outside of that big needle that comes to mind every time one thinks of Seattle, the city has much to recommend for visitors—especially the Pike Place Market, which features a functioning and vibrant seafood and farmer's market, dozens of stores, food of every type, and the first-ever Starbucks, which is almost like a pilgrimage spot given my daily routine. For those with a more historical bent, the Underground Tour is an absolute must.A double rainbow on the drive homeEventually, however, our time ran out and it was time to make the 20-hour drive over two days back home to Los Angeles through constant snow and rain (though often accompanied by some of the brightest rainbows I've ever witnessed).
Double rainbow
A double rainbow on the drive home

A trip like this has much to recommend to it. We spend a significant quantity of time fighting to preserve what is great about this country. Its diversity, its scenic beauty, and the right of its people to live as they choose. But there are few things more rewarding than finding some time to take a break and actually go out and visit our country's forests, mountains and coastlines; see the monuments that we're striving to keep open so others can be inspired just as we have been; and visit cities and communities that may have lessons to offer us in how we as local and national activists might be able to do better in bringing change back home with us. So take a break! Go to Netroots Nation, meet some friends and make some plans to visit and see something new. You'll be glad you did!

(Oh, and if you're wondering how the campaign went...I was managing three candidates. Two won, and the third has a very bright future ahead of her.)

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Comment Preferences

  •  hahaha! Pro sewer construction is pro. (5+ / 0-)

    So is that what the whole "underground Seattle" thing is about? (Yes that's right - I live here, and I've never done the tour.)

    I'm gonna go eat a steak. And fuck my wife. And pray to GOD - hatemailapalooza, 052210

    by punditician on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:09:47 PM PDT

  •  You stopped in Portland to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Scotia

    see the capitol?  What capitol?

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau -6.38, -4.15

    by James Allen on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:10:57 PM PDT

  •  the experience music project (7+ / 0-)

    is pretty cool, as is the museum of flight. portland these days is all about music and restaurants. at the foot of the oregon side of the siskiyous is ashland, one of the most magical small towns anywhere. 8-11 plays in rep at three theaters from march through october. the largest repertory theater company in the country and the oldest elizabethan stage. and as you drive through the mountains, you skirt the cascade siskiyou national monument, which has beautiful hikes.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:15:35 PM PDT

  •  Well written! I took the trip (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Scotia, vzfk3s, MsGrin

    while I was reading. Very analogous to our past. Very nice read and images! Thanks!

  •  My one campaign experience (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy2009, TX Scotia

    was in NYC... it was a city-wide race, which is a pretty overwhelming task.  

    I kept saying "If I can just make it to election day, I will be ok! If I can just make it to election day I will be ok!"

    That election day was Sept. 11, 2001.

    "Don't bring that horse in here!" -- Cassandra

    by tc59 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:16:48 PM PDT

  •  We were in Seattle a few years ago... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy2009, TX Scotia, gchaucer2, esquimaux

    and did the Underground Tour. Truly remarkable to see a city built on top of another city. We found the history of Seattle to be truly remarkable.

    It's a nice city with great people, but way to cold and rainy for me. I'd be in a state of never ending depression if I lived there.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    by reflectionsv37 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:16:52 PM PDT

    •  That was one of the first things (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      reflectionsv37, roadbear, MsGrin

      I did on my first trip to Seattle many moons ago, at my then-boyfriend's (now spouse) insistence.

      Seattle's one of my favorite destinations; we usually stay at the Residence Inn out across from Lake Union (yeah, it's Marriott but I love the in-room kitchens so we're not eating restaurant food all the time). Rarely rent a car when we're there unless we know we're going out into outer territory like Mt. Rainier or up in the San Juans. I'd love to do even more exploring of the area, like the U-District (my spouse's parents met at UW), and of course I love the ferries.

      Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:54:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Seattle is a beautiful town... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and the people are fabulous.  But the weather!  (and I live in Portland, Oregon).  The first marathon I ran was Seattle, 2000.  Do you know when the Seattle Marathon is run?  The sunday AFTER Thanksgiving.  Late November, Seattle...I'm running this marathon, with horizontal rain, and sleet, and hail, and snow flurries...and all I can think is "what is WRONG with me?"

  •  Seattle's big fight now is over a highway tunnel (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Scotia, Chinton

    under the downtown. Seattle's new green Mayor opposes it, while the majority on the City Council favor it.

    "We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children"

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:19:08 PM PDT

    •  Don't forget (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Strange New World

      the people already voted it down once.  It is a stupid idea and should not be built.

      •  After reading some of what has been (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, MsGrin

        published about the soil conditions and the probability of a tunnel boring machine getting stuck in a place it could not be reasonably removed from, I think "stupid" is actually pretty kind of you.  Tunneling machines and this area of the world do not have a great recent history.

        "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground." - Fredrick Douglass

        by Strange New World on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:09:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The stupid tunnel (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          roadbear, MsGrin

          would not have any off ramps downtown. Even if digging a tunnel were smart, a freeway going thru downtown that has no access to downtown is beyond stupid.

          •  I Disagree! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I live in the Greater Seattle area. Do you folks realize that the current viaduct is a SEVERE earthquake risk and needs replacing ASAP for public safety. It is a heavily used artery through the downtown section of the city. The proposed tunnel to REPLACE the Alaskan Way Viaduct was not some crazy scheme funded by the oil industry. It's a project supported by the Democratic Governor and the Democratic controlled State Legislature ) as well as the Seattle City Council (pretty much all Democrats) and the former mayors (pretty much all Democrats.

            The underground tunnel design was to combine a functional needed artery that would not intrude on the beauty of the city (like a subway???) The new mayor doesn't believe in autos and wants everyone to ride buses or bicycles as they move throughout Puget Sound.  

            In the meantime, the Alaskan Way Viaduct continues to function as a dangerous thoroughfare and a scar on the beautiful waterfront.

            If you folks are riding bicycles or buses to work and don't use cars to get around, you can criticize the proposed tunnel. If you don't mind using a structure that everyone knows will collapse in the expected earthquake can criticize the proposed tunnel. If not, I wish you would do a bit more fact checking before you applaud the new mayor's actions.

            •  Ya the tunnel proposal (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Strange New World, MsGrin

              leaves the viaduct in place until 2016. How is that solving the problem of a dangerous roadway.  

              What is your response to no downtown ramps?

              Where is all this alleged traffic that is going to pay 4 bucks each way to go past downtown?  Magnolia to Des Moines just doesn't warrant a deep boar tunnel.

              We need sensible road adjustment and we need to take the viaduct down right now not in 2016.

              •  You didn't answer my questions (0+ / 0-)

                The tunnel is not just for the people of Seattle. It's for the people of the state. You know that the Seattle-Tacoma corridor is one of the most congested in the country. Taking away one huge artery and not replacing it is shortsighted, and promoting the very idea of doing so is one reason why independents make fun of lefties as being unrealistic dreamers who are incapable of governing.

                •  Remember that the state's own analysis (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  roadbear, Strange New World, MsGrin

                  Showed that the traffic could be handled with investments in transit, in reconfiguring I-5, and in the surface roadway. The stakeholder committee all signed off on the plan before the governor, the last mayor, and others signed off on a sudden backroom deal to revive the tunnel - which, the studies show, will carry only a fraction of traffic currently carried by the Viaduct while leaving no money to either invest in transit OR to address the huge traffic problems the studies show will hit Pioneer Square and downtown.

                  We also know that traffic volumes have been declining in the region over the last 10 years and are likely to continue to do so. We had a workable and realistic plan for tearing down the Viaduct and handling all the traffic effectively - and then the tunnel was revived, with a plan that doesn't actually handle all the traffic. It seems to me that it's the tunnel itself that's not very realistic.

                  I will haunt you. It is on like Donkey Kong. - SF Supervisor Chris Daly

                  by robert cruickshank on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 12:12:06 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Do you live in Washington? (0+ / 0-)

                    Do you live up here or in California? Do you really believe our Governor Chris Gregoire is someone who would go for a "backroom deal"?  Are you speaking out from personal experience or long-distance theorizing about our traffic problems in greater Puget Sound?

            •  I live 4 blocks from the Viaduct. (0+ / 0-)

              I know that it got a score of 9 out of 100 possible points in a federal disaster survey of its weakest areas.  I do walk and take the bus, so I am occasionally under that structure and am at as much risk as anyone else.  Getting a very expensive piece of machinery stuck under a building will not protect my head from that bridge.  I have attempted to picture this, but cannot see how it would.

              I also think the light rail system has been a great improvement to the city and look forward to its expansion.  I loved the DC Metro as a kid, and enjoyed the subway in NYC and the trains in Seoul.  The trains cannot look any worse than the port cranes or Safeco Field.

              "Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground." - Fredrick Douglass

              by Strange New World on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 11:43:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  History speaks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Strange New World

          The Brightwater complex has seen how many stuck boring machines or problems with? So yeah that is a concern.

    •  McGinn, Nickels, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Only Seattle could replace one obnoxious fat head mayor with another. Green indeed ... McGinn has no business managing a 7-11 let alone a city.

  •  Great diary....conjurs up great pictures! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pam from Calif, TX Scotia

    Congrats on the electoral wins!

    Yea, Cali and the West Coast are beautiful parts of the country. We are really fortunate to live here....earthquakes and crazy housing prices and all.      :)

    So much to continue fighting for, and so much to still enjoy.

    I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. Thomas Jefferson

    by Lucy2009 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:22:55 PM PDT

  •  I realy hope someone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TX Scotia

    (Gavin Newsome?) challanges DiFi in the primary. She is a disgrace to Sna Francisco.


    by McGirk on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:29:12 PM PDT

    •  I was hoping Deb Bowen (6+ / 0-)

      would decide to hold out for 2012 Senate instead of running for Harman's House seat. I'm also hoping that DiFi will retire -- she's not a complete disgrace (she's introduced the bill to repeal DOMA), but a bit too corporate for my tastes.

      Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:56:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dispite over 90% of CA voters (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        esquimaux, Shahryar

        calling her opposition to the Iraq war, she voted for it.... and her Husband is a CEO of a Carlyle Group defense contractor. She voted against her people in order to profit off the war. She's no better than Dick Cheney. Sure she does something good once every two years around election time to save face, but I'd prefer another Barbera Boxer.
        I plan on being back in SF by the 2012 elections. I'll happily vote for Obama a second time and Nancy Pelosi for the sixth time. But no chance in hell I'll vote for DiFi. I'll vote Green or independant.

        FIVE TONS OF FLAX!!!!!

        by McGirk on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:13:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Not even 24 hours after we all decried how Geraldine Ferraro was brought down based on attacks on her husband.

          •  ? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I don't get the relevance. Di Fi has been a disgrace for decades. If not for the Milk/Moscone murders, she never would have became mayor, and moved on to senate. She never was liked in SF outside of the rich district she was in. She is simply a DLC sellout dem like Joe Lieberman and deserves to be primaried. My other senator and reps in CA: Bardera Boxer and Nancy Pelosi are awesome.

            Why you are trying to link this to Ferraro's death?

             I have no clue why you would do that. My long standing disdain for Di Fi has nothing to do with any other political figuer beyond my comparisons between her and Joe Leiberman: both hidieuse excuses for Dems who deserve the boot. I don't even know who Ferraro's husband is.

            FIVE TONS OF FLAX!!!!!

            by McGirk on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 05:30:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  All I'm saying ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... focus on what Feinstein herself has done, not her husband.

            •  Ferraro's hubby.... (0+ / 0-)

              Whose name escapes me at the moment, was a big real estate guy and pretty much a giant slum lord.  The Reagan GOP people, back in the day, said that nominating Ferraro was a slap in the face to America's poor and working people (go figure).

              But shortly after Reagan was reelected, he nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court.

              Me personal--I never cared much for Rep Ferraro.  Her big quote (again, back in the day) was that she was very concerned about the Reagan Administration's constant drum beat over fueling wars in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, because she was the "mother of a sixteen year old son," and was worried about him getting drafted.

              The first time I heard that, I exploded with anger.  There were lots of moms in central America, and lots of them had 16 year old sons, and THEY were all getting blown up over nothing.  I expected Congresspeople to have a little broader, and a lot less parochial, perspective on life.......

              As for DiFi, I briefly lived in SF shortly after she became Mayor, and was more than a little alarmed to see how much she tried to ally herself with the SF opposed to (so the story goes) what Moscone did....

              No, I don't know if Senator Fi is just another Blue Dog, but that's how she's always struck me....

            •  McGirk - DiFi is unbeatable (0+ / 0-)

              No Dem with any political savvy is going to try and primary Senator Feinstein. We should all save our money for races where a solid progressive has a chance. First, DiFi can raise an unlimited amount of money.  She has used her fund raising prowess to create strong ties with the Dem machine. They  will rally around her and shun any primary challenger. Because of her broad appeal to Dems, gopers and Indies she is unbeatable in the general. On a statewide basis she is much more popular than Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer.  

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 09:48:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I actually left Senate blank (0+ / 0-)

          back in 2006; I knew she'd win without my help and I just couldn't see voting for her. And I think the support for Iraq was just her corporatism shining through.

          Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes

          by Cali Scribe on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 06:07:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  McGirk - any reference on Blum? (0+ / 0-)

          You state in your comment that DiFi's husband, Richard Blum, is a CEO of a Carlyle Group defense contractor. If you have a source, I'd like to see it. Blum is the CEO of Blum Capital and it would be surprising if he was spending time running a company for Carlyle. Blum is an investor and board member of several DoD contractors and suppliers and there have certainly been conflict issues with his portfolio companies and DiFi's former position as chair of the Military Construction Appropriations Committee. It's certainly possible that Carlyle is a co-investor in some of Blume's companies but I would be surprised if he was the CEO of a Carlyle company.  

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 10:29:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The part of town called Old Sac was also (3+ / 0-)

    raised because of regular flooding. There are now tours available to see some of the old ground level parts of structures.

    ... no one can put the ocean in their pocket ... ~ Melissa Harris-Lacewell

    by tgypsy on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:29:23 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the tour guide. I've been from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    LA to Seattle twice. It's an incredible journey from the fields of food to mts to forests.
    We will be on the OR coast for spring break week after next in a yurt!

    She who knows she has enough is rich My recipes @ Politicook

    by TX Scotia on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:33:22 PM PDT

  •  Bloggers at Hearst Castle (7+ / 0-)

    And I made a new friend in Sacramento:

  •  While I understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    commitment to any campaign is exhausting, I'd like to share a one person benefit.  All those who worked tirelessly for Jerry Brown won over (after the election) my Republican mother.  She isn't a Brownbot (sorry) but she said he is doing the best he can under the circumstances.  Believe me -- that is comparable to:  Barack -- I want to have your baby!

    And -- I loved the underground tour in Seattle because our guide was terrific and the preservation is amazing.

    " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 01:40:26 PM PDT

  •  travel is essential for perspective (0+ / 0-)

    Fun to read that your stops included many of my own favorites along that drive (and the rainbows along the way, got one of my own photos on my desktop at the moment). I take the coast drive every Thanksgiving from San Francisco to Cambria which is near the Hearst Castle.  As we approach from the north we always scan the fields for the zebras which graze there . The place has some really quirky stuff.

    But more interesting is the progressive perspective on events within each locale. I've been doing much more thinking about how local issues really do impact us so directly.  

    Nice read. Thanks.

  •  Cool diary and important issues, thank you. (0+ / 0-)

    I will note, however, that the layout looks very... off on Safari 5.0.4.

  •  I'm also not a fan of W.R. Hearst, (0+ / 0-)

    but He also donated the land that is now Fort Hunter Liggett.
    I spent a lot of time there back in the day, and it is a very nice area, even while eating c-rations, weeks without a shower, I could not help but realize what a great area it is.

  •  The sin of privatization and commercialization (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, CMYK

    The signs of three decades of worshipping private wealth at the expense of collective wealth are showing everywhere.  Just like this diary talks about, you cannot miss the impact if you get out at all.

    "the destructive forces that drive the market forces of our economy will create graveyards. They must be controlled. This creed of commercialization is driving our society in suicidal directions. . . Commercialization is more destructive than any nuclear bomb."
    - World Teacher Maitreya through an associate as reported by Share International

  •  Hearst Castle ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoldnI, esquimaux

    would you care to go for a swim?  

    Swimming Pool

    We need to teach people that the environment has a direct bearing on our own benefit. Dalai Lama

    by maggiejean on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:20:46 PM PDT

  •  Powell's (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GoldnI, tmo, Shahryar, CMYK

    We were in Portland and walked over to Powell's bookstore.  The key word is walked--our hotel--the deLuxe was convenient to walk to every place--and a great place to stay.  The sad news was that at least the tech part of the bookstore is slated to close--sorry for this pun--books are being used for Kindling.

    Oh, also, next time go to pinot noir country--Willamette.  Great wine and much less pretentious than Napa/Sonoma.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:30:27 PM PDT

  •  "Right" to an education (0+ / 0-)

    I agree this is something absolutely necessary in America.  Problem is, it is often seen as a "right" to a PAID FOR education.

    These things are two very different things.

    California hasn't realized this just yet.

    •  I'll let Adams and Jefferson speak on my behalf: (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fiddlingnero, esquimaux, wsexson, CMYK

      “Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially for the lower classes of people, are so extremely wise and useful that to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.” John Adams

      "A system of general education, which shall reach every description of our citizens from the richest to the poorest, as it was the earliest, so will it be the latest of all the public concerns in which I shall permit myself to take an interest." Thomas Jefferson

      The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

      by AnnieR on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:37:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, you see this as saying govt. should pay (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        for everyone's higher education ?  Think that might be just a "general" education?  Whatcha truly think?

        I'm not thinkin' that meant everyone should have a paid for college education.  But, that's just me.

        •  I wouldn't mind seeing that; wouldn't even (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          mind paying more taxes for it.  Instead of funding wars with no end or letting bankers keep their winnings while socializing their losses, maybe our money would be better spent educating our future generations.  I know, a pipe dream, but one can dream about better uses for our taxes, that could actually move us forward.

          The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

          by AnnieR on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 04:35:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for the tour of "God's Own Country" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    why bioregional government is important to the nation

    Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

    by annieli on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 02:55:57 PM PDT

    •  your trip covered the same country (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above "Nous sommes un groupuscule" join the DAILY KOS UNIVERSITY "makes Beck U. and the Limbaugh Institute look like Romper Room"

      by annieli on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 04:02:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I love Ecotopia.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CMYK, offgrid

        ...but I think you have to be at least 40 (if not 50) to tolerate reading it.  The writing is hideous, the characters awful...and the 1970s version of "feminism" (Because you're a woman, you get to have sex with me and all guys....WOO HOO!) is beyond dated....

        Just my personal opinion, while the IDEA of Ecotopia holds up very well (I still list my "nation" as "Ecotopia" whenever I can), the book does not.......

        In fact, much as it pains me to say it, I don't Abbey's Monkey Wrench Gang holds up either (but WAY better than Ecotopia, though).

        I'd be interested in hearing what other people think...but I'm getting to these comments so late, no one in their right mind is going to bother reading through to my last sticks thrown on the fire.............

  •  I dream of living (5+ / 0-)

    one day in a progressive country.  One where education and health care are affordable or free; where cities and towns are clean and pretty...  Where high-speed rail can get you almost anywhere you need to go, for a reasonable price.  Manufacturing returns, and we are the world leader in innovative, clean-green energy.  A country where you can marry who you want, where women are (finally) respected and treated as intelligent human beings, and where diversity is celebrated, not feared.

    Yes, I think about this all the time.  Hopefully I will see it in my lifetime.

    "Mediocrity cannot know excellence." -- Sherlock Holmes

    by La Gitane on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 03:03:33 PM PDT

  •  Would be cool if (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    robert cruickshank, belle1, tmo

    We had diaries like this for different regions of the country.  I think an occasional series of that kind would generate a lot of interest and be very educational for all kinds of DKos readers.

    Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

    by Linnaeus on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 03:10:56 PM PDT

  •  the west coast is a natural wonderland (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    which is why i really can't bring myself to leave

  •  I'm from the West Coast (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tmo, Shahryar

    Modesto, actually.  And, with the exception of just the major cities in California, it's an extremely conservative state...most folks in the U.S. don't know that.  SF and Los Angeles has just so many libs and "others" (hispanics) it offsets the majority conservative population everywhere else.

    It's kinda like New York state in that respect.  California is in a disastrous situation fiscally...financially.  Gotta protect everything and everyone...don'tchaknow.  

    It'll end up surviving because Jerry Brown is a moderate and is willing to go conservative if need be to save the state.  We need a Jerry Brown in D.C.  

  •  You should of taken 101 up the coast (3+ / 0-)

    into Oregon. I-5 is faster but it's like sticking a hot poker in your eye.

    You would of seen allot more on the slow roads.

    I ask him if he was warm enough? "Warm," he growled, "I haven't been warm since Bastogne."

    by Unrepentant Liberal on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 03:59:57 PM PDT

  •  OK, Dante, but let's never forget: (0+ / 0-)

    The Interstate Highway system was a socialist enterprise, if you must call it that, but it was Corporate Socialism, as was the U.S. Highway system before it (in the 1920s and 1930s).  

    The Interstate system was intended to stimulate the auto industry AND to create the ability for people to live in suburbs while working in the cities.  It is the single major reason for our nation's outrageous gasoline consumption.  It was probably the largest economic stimulus package ever, except our wars.

    That said, it's some spectacular construction, often through spectacular countryside.  As a public works project, it was generally well executed.

    But - especially if you're in Liberal politics - please don't ever forget the distinction between socialism and corporate welfare.  The interstate system was never put to a popular vote, and the prime beneficiaries were corporations:  auto, highway construction, and developers.

    •  "prime beneficiaries"? (0+ / 0-)

      While those corporations certainly benefitted from the construction money at the time, that money also flowed into the pockets of working people accross the country.

      And ultimately, the prime beneficiaries are the thousands of businesses that can move their freight, and individuals, like Dante, who can move themselves, long distances quickly and easily.

      Mind you....I would much rather that it had been an Interstate Rail System instead of a highway system. But even then, large corporations would still have made a lot of money building it.

  •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

    See this today? Be Sure to See This Desperate Plea For Help...

  •  Hearst Castle (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aikea guinea

    Mostly, I think of it as a monument to all that is bad about extreme wealth.  14th century Italian choir stalls in the dining room?

    As sure as Versailles is a monument to the corrupt, decadent aristocracy, so too Hearst Castle is a monument to how that top sliver of a percent (or less) lives.  These are the people Michael Moore is talking about her when he says there's plenty of money in the U.S.  The French keep Versailles open as a museum/park as a warning against sliding back to those Let them eat cake ways.  Hearst Castle deserves to be kept open for the exact same reason.

    exmearden: Grab every minute of joy you can. 8/30/09

    by Land of Enchantment on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 07:28:10 PM PDT

  •  Your picture is of the Neptune Pool at Hearst (0+ / 0-)

    Castle, NOT the Roman Pool.  The indoor pool, that you saw just before you got on the bus to go back down the hill, is the Roman Pool.

    "Get up, Stand up" ~ Bob Marley

    by trinityfly on Sun Mar 27, 2011 at 08:24:53 PM PDT

  •  Greetings from Portland, Oregon (0+ / 0-)

    As someone who grew up in Chula Vista (south San Diego) Ca, and has lived in Ecotopia since 1984, I have to say that I am still amazed by all the trees & the green....even in an urban city like Portland.  While I miss the ocean (and a beach where you can actually swim), and the 300 days of annual overcast/rain gets old....I don't see myself going back to California...

    But I write regarding an early comment you made, wondering what a Michelle Bachman would have said about President Eisenhower--back in the day--when the interstate freeway system was under construction.

    Here's something else that would have made your Bachman character go bananas: Ike had to FIGHT to make the freeway system what it is, with broad roads largely bypassing towns/cities, offering only exits to visit the locales.  What Americans (ie the local business communities) wanted was to have the "freeways" go right through the heart of towns, and have lots of stop lights (better for business).  Ike said no, and insisted on another model he had seen in Europe: the autobahn, built by the NAZIS!  The NATIONAL SOCIALISTS!  Almost the WORST KIND (almost) of SOCIALISTS!

    The next time you blow through Our Fair City, be sure to talk some time to walk in Forest Park--particularly, the Leif Ericson Trail (if you don't have pretty much all day, the Germantown Rd end is a better hike).

  •  Horvath has a bright future? (0+ / 0-)


    We respect you too much to give a shout-out to a woman who was nothing more than a pawn of some other poorly behaving power brokers long past their prime.

    You were paid to do a job and you did the best you could.  But please don't try to make Horvath or her handlers appear to be anything to be emulated.

    WeHo was quickly approaching the levels of insular political corruption we have seen in places like Vernon or heavens, Bell.  The fact that a little democracy broke out there in early March is a good thing and it is sad you were on the wrong side of it.

    •  Sorry you feel that way (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      msblucow, GoldnI, CMYK

      I had Horvath on a panel I hosted at Netroots Nation last summer on California politics - specifically, what we needed to do to turn the state around and make it a progressive laboratory. I'd never met her before and wasn't sure how she'd turn out as a panelist.

      I needn't have worried. She was flat-out brilliant, with excellent insights about what cities need to be doing in the 21st century and what we need to fix in state government to enable that to happen. I saw in her a future leader. I hope she still can do that.

      Local politics can be difficult, obviously, and people have strong opinions. But I don't see a justification for calling her a pawn of anyone.

      I will haunt you. It is on like Donkey Kong. - SF Supervisor Chris Daly

      by robert cruickshank on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 12:15:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Completely disagree with you (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GoldnI, CMYK

      Horvath has already done more in issue advocacy than many activists twice her age, and she didn't accomplish that by being anyone's pawn.

      The election is over and it's time to drop the campaign rhetoric, don't you think? The personal hatred that the anti-incumbent camp demonstrated throughout the campaign can be toned down a little bit now, I hope.

      By the way--it doesn't look like I was on the wrong side at all. Abbe Land and John Heilman won re-election fairly easily. The  idea that some people think that replacing one out of five city councilmembers entitles them to claim that it's a new Spring makes me chuckle a little bit.

      Lastly--chances are that if you know this race this well, I should know who you are in person. Hiding behind anonymity to make personal insults against me and that candidates I worked for is a cheap out.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      Twitter: @DanteAtkins

      by Dante Atkins on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 12:38:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  one other thing: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      OurCountry...OurWeho...that's a mighty coincidence, isn't it, given the fact that John D'Amico's website and blog is OurWeho? That an account with the name OurCountry happens to have an intimate knowledge of WeHo politics and emerges from a year of dormancy on DailyKos just to attack Horvath?

      For shame.

      oops. I hope the gate wasn't too expensive.

      Twitter: @DanteAtkins

      by Dante Atkins on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 01:19:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Looking forward to your analysis (0+ / 0-)


        Intimate knowledge?  I live in Los Angeles, close to WeHo.  There is nothing intimate about my knowledge other than the fact that I follow local politics here in SoCal and I know the damage done by so-called progressives who have left many cynical and disconnected because so many voters don't see any difference between left and right (hard to believe, but you know the turnout numbers from 2010).

        But I have a brain and that brain helped me find this:

        If the forces for fresh leadership in WeHo had gotten their act together, there would be no swearing in of Heilman or Land in April.  As it was, D'Amico, the only successful challenger, won the most votes, hardly a healthy sign for your successful incumbents.  Since West Hollywood is notorious for being a company town, it doesn't surprise me that Land and Heilman were able to garner just under half of the voters to throw in for them.  Throw around enough pork and patronage and incumbents around here do quite well and it has little to do with clean politics or a healthy democracy.

        Clearly you need some time to cool off before you can give your thoughts on this race.  But before you make accusations that I exist merely to smear Horvath, why don't you recognize that when you accuse what is in effect a very liberal small town of being no better than Republicans merely because there was a real, but tough, election rather than the slimy sleazy coronation that normally occurs and then cast your inexperienced losing candidate as some bright-star of progressive California politics, you might get some blowback.

  •  Your lack of Oregon information (0+ / 0-)

    disturbs me.

    Lots on Seattle and No. Cal.

    You took the I-5 Route and effectively missed the Hwy 101 marvels that end in Oregon in the town of Astoria where Rogue Brewery makes luscious libations and becomes the crossover town for Washington's red/blue divide.

    Next time, consult the State in between Silicon Valley and the Evergreens. We'll show you the way. ;)

    Hew out of the mountain of despair A Stone of Hope. -Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Patch Adam on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 05:34:22 PM PDT

  •  The short-sightedness of some business interests (0+ / 0-)

    Just mind boggling! You'd think nobody in his right mind would quarrel with building a swere system that doesn't back up with the tides. We are not arguing the fine points of macroeconomics here. Sh*t flows downhill. Let's keep it that way. Sounds elementary to me. It's just mind boggling that business interests then and now have a habit of pissing into the wind just to make a point.

    •  Mind boggling, yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I'm sitting in a picturesque little town, not that far from Hearst Castle, pondering the motivations of those "business' interests.

      Underneath the dunes, the hills and the Pacific horizon all is not well. Water and everything about water here seems to attract a lot of 'rats' -genus "politician".

       When you can count at least 5  small towns in a 30 mile string that have water and sewer problems of monumental proportions you know there's something terribly wrong.

      One town has struggled for nearly 30 years to have an affordable and ecologically sound treatment plant built. That struggle ended by the county taking charge. Now the senior home owners and lower income working people will be forced out by estimated $250 dollar a month water bills. Gentrification is the goal.

      The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind. Khalil Gibran

      by brook on Mon Mar 28, 2011 at 06:23:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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