By BILL SHARKEY III
Martinez News-Gazette Columnist
HERE WE GO with our 301st Column 1. Hard to believe. I am so grateful to the management and staff of the Gazette for allowing me to have fun doing something I enjoy…a carryover of the fun I had doing it five days a week when I was editor of the Contra Costa Gazette, (predecessor to the current ‘Gazette’) from 1960 to 1964. Then my career path changed when I left to be a public relations representative for Shell Oil Company in San Francisco, then back home to Martinez by a transfer. What a wonderful career for a hometown guy; doing what he loves doing and being able to do it in a wonderful community like Martinez.
Readers of the columns I produce even let me know they are out there once in a while. That makes it even more fun. Critics make it even better!
SPEAKING OF FUN, how would you like to be involved in the House of Horrors, usually referred to as the White House, the symbol of our nation around the world? There are not sufficient adequate words to describe what is taking place back there for that same world to witness. The comings and departures of so many members of the hierarchy in the current administration is mind-boggling. There has never been a chaotic situation which we are seeing daily, according to the historians who appear on TV programs and in print media. Guess we have been fortunate over the years. Some less-strong nations have experienced the current chaos we are having and did not survive.
BY EARLY MORNING tweet, the third-ranking government official learned he had lost his job while coming back from a diplomatic trip in Africa. No face-to-face conversation or explanation. Just a lousy tweet from a boss who has zero class. So long, Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State. Welcome, CIA Director Pomeo; you are now Secretary of State. All within hours (maybe minutes?) And, in the blink of a nasty guy’s eye, the new CIA Director is a woman known for her oversight of the so-called “interrogation enhancement program”, called torture by most.
The same day of musical chairs (you’re out!), the gent referred to as the president’s ‘body man’, who is sort of attached to the Oval Office guy’s hip, was unceremoniously walked out of the White House to the street for what has been described as some ‘serious financial’ issues. Some one reported that he did not even get his suit coat because of the haste. What’s that old saying? Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?
Rex Tillerson was fortunate that the Oval Office tenant did not order the Secretary’s plane to land and put him off. As was reported when FBI Director James Comey was fired, while at a meeting in Los Angeles, his ungrateful firing person was very unhappy that Mr. Comey came BACK HOME on his government plane, not on a commercial flight.
(A side note re: above: Some forty years ago my son, Rick, worked for a German ski equipment firm as a rep in Northern California. One weekend all the reps were called to a meeting in San Francisco at SFO. At the end of the session, the ‘honcho’ said that five of the 10 reps were being laid off for to business reasons. The five who were terminated were told to turn over the keys to their vans right there, leaving them to find a way to get home. My son lived in Tahoe City. He called his wife to come to get him at SFO. No concern now that the laid-off reps were not close to home. Sound like a decision that the ‘bleached blonde bombaster’ might make?!?)
As I write about these unbelievable White House happenings, the news programs quoted the president as saying there are more firings coming as he is going to clear out ‘the dead wood’ in his administration. Guess his staff should all wear their coats in the office in case they become the target of a firing and are forced to leave in a hurry!?! To date, CNN and NBC have shown 48 administration personnel who have been terminated or who have sort of said, “The hell with it,” and bailed out. Some have apparently taken the position that they had better leave now rather than have their reputations besmirched by association. Good idea?
SPEAKING OF DEAD WOOD, did you see his Education Secretary, Betsy Devos, make a fool of herself on 60 Minutes? Appointed to the Cabinet post because of her millions in political donations, she does not have a clue as to what she is responsible for and, by her responses to interview questions, proved how totally inadequate she is. A cash cow who belongs elsewhere, not in the education field.
More dead wood talk should include Jered and First Daughter Ivanka who have not been seen much recently. Have they been sheltered-in-place to avoid public scrutiny for their lack of brilliant performances which their benefactor led us all to believe would occur? Jared, who is billions in debt for disastrous real estate investment decisions, should be back in private life, not traveling the landscape trying to make good contacts. He, reportedly, has been ‘used’ by the international high rollers in the hierarchy of nations which he has visited. Go Jared!!
No peace in the Middle East. How are we doing with Mexico? What else does he have in his weighty portfolio? Nice looking young man but, as someone back there commented, “He’s an empty suit.” Not good as an emissary of our nation on the world stage. He should be dealing in real estate in NYC and elsewhere. Not peddling Trump deals while acting as an agent for his father-in-law’s organization. Hey, a better deal yet. Have his father-in-law resign from a job he doesn’t know how to handle, and go back to one he knows. Wow! NYC here he comes??
WARRIORS doing sort of well, but not as well as well as we might have
expected. Too many injuries to key players as the NBA season winds down. However, Warrior fans, think positive. But, start saving your milk money, and fill your piggy banks; the outlandish seat prices for the new digs over in San Francisco will blow you away, they tell us, without any apologies. The price of a couple going to a game right now at Oracle is incredible. The price across The Bay will be ‘interesting’. Yet, we continue to hear that the waiting list for season tickets is about 43,000.
Whoever said that the economy is not good? More ‘fake news’?
A SWEET LADY in the community passed away recently. Betty Jo Tittle, a mother, a quiet lady with civic concerns and social involvement, will be missed by her many friends and associates. She was a longtime resident of Alhambra Valley, and more recently of Rossmoor. Thoughts of comfort go to her family. RIP, Betty Jo.
CHEERS for the weather. Cheers for where we live. Bless those poor souls we hear and see on national news suffering daily with horrible storms ‘back there’. Hard to imagine how they continue to survive. When we have a day which does not suit us, just remember the less fortunate. Picture the terrible highway conditions with cars and trucks off the road or upside down. Then, go about our business in the sunshine.