Column 1: We are Martinez

| April 7, 2019 | 0 Comments

By BILL SHARKEY III
Martinez News-Gazette Columnist

WE ARE MARTINEZ, and ‘we’ know how to do crab feeds. Just like the fundraiser for the Martinez Historical Society Saturday, March 30 at the Shell Clubhouse. Nearly 200 hungry attendees (donors) sat elbow to elbow chatting and eating as Boy Scouts provided the ‘server’ function. It was an evening which seemed like a family reunion. So many longtime friends and relatives with lots to chat about. Conversation, once the big pans of tossed salad arrived, becomes a secondary activity. As the aluminum pans of great hot pasta began arriving, the conversation level dims a bit. (The pasta course always brings out the, “I really shouldn’t have this,” comments from those having a battle with their conscience! Oh, well, just a little bit because it is so good.”) Then, “Would you pass the pasta, please?” “I’ll have just a bit more because it is SOOO good.” Then, “Is there more pasta?”

Arrival of the big pans of crab nearly shuts down happy conversations. Now the ‘go for it’ stage begins in earnest, and with gusto. And, you can tell the real ‘professional’ crab feed attendees. They are the folks who break out the ‘tools’ of the trade…weapons to crack the shells, picks to get out all the good stuff, and a bottle of sauce. Just give them room to work in tight quarters, elbow-to-elbow. For all of this the crabs gave their all. In this case, for the benefit of the Martinez Historical Society.

Like we said, “We are Martinez. We know how to have a great time for a good cause. Especially if there is salad, pasta and lots of crab. Oh, don’t forget the hot garlic bread of which there never seems to be enough. Oh, yes, let us not overlook the fantastic cake and pastries auction to end the evening, much of which is shared with tablemates.

Watch for the 2020 version of ‘fine (?) dining’ with the crab feed gang in Martinez.

GREAT PROGRESS on the new Contra Costa County Administration Building on Escobar Street. Photo on Page One of the Gazette with the County hierarchy shows the ‘topping off’ of the steel. Always a good sign of progress. The architect’s rendering looks like a very nice addition to our city, the County Seat.

County Seat brings some history to mind. Way back Richmond tried to wrest the County seat from Martinez because they had more population. Politics, and logic, played a prominent role, and the designation of County Seat was declared to be Martinez. And, therefore, the old Contra Costa Gazette was proclaimed as the ‘County Newspaper of General Circulation’ and, thus was the official newspaper for legal publications. Interesting? Maybe not!

HOLY GUACAMOLE!! The blonde bombshell behind the Oval Desk in the White House (which is only warm mid-week between jaunts to Florida) has threatened to close the borders between us and Mexico. The gasps you hear are from the ‘merchants’ who trade back and forth 24/7. Early guesses about loss of billions include the avocados which will not be able to cross. Mama Mia!! Get that Gringo out of there! Send him back to Trump Tower where he can be King Cong again, and not in a position to destroy our country. And not a major threat to every Mexican restaurant.

Oh, what a lovely thought!!

SECURITY has been foremost in the ‘theme’ of the White House for months as the controversial border wall/barrier, or whatever, is promoted. Now, this past week, a woman of Chinese nationality, with two passports, cell phones, malware and unknown intensions, made her way through several levels of security (FBI, Secret Service, etc.) on to the hallowed ground of the presidential retreat at Mar-a-Lago. How embarrassing! Many red faces and, very likely, some harsh discipline.

MORE SECURITY in the news recently is the scandal of issuing Top Secret security clearances to some 25 White House personnel over the denial recommendation of those personnel responsible for investigating and making recommendations. Some prominent names like Jared and Yvanka on the list of proposed denials. But, ‘Daddy’ overruled the career staffers and granted clearance. Very poor move!

Denial does not indicate anything ‘sinister’, usually. However, many issues can arise where personal involvements could lead to compromise, for example. Jared’s on-going coziness with the Saudis could be a major ‘red flag’. The fact that his father-in-law vouches for him has no relevancy. His background and connections are what count, among other issues. Yvanka’s husband is a good guy, smart, etc., won’t pass the investigation process. Even if his father-in-law thinks so.

When I was commissioned as Ensign Sharkey, USN, eons ago, the FBI did the clearance checks on me for Top Secret status. I received calls from several friends and associates telling me they had been contacted. I received clearance which was necessary for the duties I had beginning with my first duty assignment at sea. To short cut the process is really a bad idea. However, traditional process does not seem to concern the current Oval Office Occupant. We’ve witnessed such behavior often, including on an international scale.

A salute to the West Wing whistle-blower who brought this security scandal to the light of day. She is, apparently, a dedicated career person who takes her responsibilities to heart. Need lots of them.

CHEERS to the prosecutors who are doing their job with the parents who used their wealth to bribe college and university personnel to get their, perhaps unworthy kids, into a prestigious school. Unbelievable amounts of money! What they paid out will be a pittance of what the legal and social expenses will be after the legal procedures. And, the notoriety in the media for the parents, and the social stigma for the kids will be not be ‘paid off’ quickly, hopefully. For shame!!

My wife, a son, two daughters, all UC system graduates, are hearing the details of the scandal and saying, with bias of course, $500,000 in bribes to attend University of Southern California?!? How dumb!

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