Column One: Well, who now?

By Bill Sharkey III


WELL, WHO NOW?? Last Democratic presidential candidate debate before the Iowa caucuses, and those standing before the prospective voters in upcoming elections and caucus groups have given it their last shot nationwide. How do you feel, Mr. and Ms. American voter? Made up your mind? Still too early? Still too many candidate ideas and policies to ponder? Who looks like a president? Who would you like to see representing our nation around the world? Who sounds credible?

As the field narrows, and those still in the race find themselves more in the focus of their competitors, the more pointed the comments become. The more critical the exchanges of ideas and policies become. However, with all the ‘heat of battle’ increasing, let’s hope that civility does not suffer. We’ve suffered far too much incivility in recent years, far more than this aged observer can recall.

Some recent comments include Bernie Sanders allegedly commenting that a woman can’t win, claiming Elizabeth Warren is supported by ‘elitists’, whatever that means. Several months ago a well-recognized GOP faithful stated that if Elizabeth Warren is the Democrat nominee, “Trump will sweep the board in the electoral college”. The two billionaires in the race are on the hot seat because “they are trying to buy the presidency”. Now, we are hearing that there is not sufficient diversity in the contender group. Then, there are those who are skeptical of the advanced ages among those leading the pack. In my humble opinion (tongue in cheek) anyone wishing to be President of the United States should have his or her head examined. Four or eight years in that pressure cooker is strictly inhumane punishment. The only good thing being president is getting to fly everywhere aboard Air Force One. Talk about FIRST CLASS!! The current Oval Office Occupant is wearing out the current planes on his too-often political rallies, and weekend jaunts to Florida and other country clubs. Good news, though, is new planes are on back order! Will they have TRUMP in large letters on the side like his campaign plane did?

IMPEACH or not is now up to the Senate. After all the chatter and wrangling and negotiations between the House and ‘Moscow Mitch’, as some severe critic called him, it’s time to get on with it. It will probably be a day-time TV drama with a large cast of characters and a viewing audience of millions. Guess the networks will have to throw in the usual commercials to pay for the time. At the end of the ‘trial’, will we still have a bleached blonde Oval Office Occupant? Very likely!!

IS CANNABIS going to be a ‘snack’ of choice in Martinez? Why do I ask? Wendy’s and KFC have shut their doors, and we have at least one new pot shop coming to town with others trying to be welcomed. I use the term welcomed reluctantly. Which product is most harmful to one’s system…heavy calorie burgers and tasty chicken, or pot? Or, are we just blowing smoke?

Speaking of burgers, have you noticed the intense TV commercial competition among the Burger Kings, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Arby’s and Carl’s Jr.? You almost can’t afford not to scarf down the low-priced combos being flashed on the screens during this current blitz. Oh, if they were not so hard on the body with calories, fat, salt and all the other yummy stuff. However, if you drink a diet Pepsi with your burger, your conscience won’t keep nagging at you the rest of the day.

A GLITCH in the startup of the development of the old Concord Naval Weapons Station is a shame. Haggling between developer, Lennar, and the Building Trades Council over who can be employed and wages (something which is expected in any large project) could become a lengthy negotiations skirmish with the City of Concord in the middle. Meanwhile, the thought of such a huge addition of housing units, commercial and office spaces, open space may be delayed for who-knows-how-long.

INTERESTING list of would-be County Clerk-Elections Department head was announced this past week. Pared down to six finalists, the Board of Supervisors will interview and select very soon. With a big-time election year in 2020, the time is short for a new chief to be in place. Elections have had increased focus and interest with all the revelations of hacking, etc. Serious business needs to be administered.

CHEERS for the passing phone number which has been the business number for the ‘Gazette’ (under several names) for more than eight decades. As long as I can remember, ‘400’ has been in the listing. First as 400 (number please), to Academy 8-6400, to AC 8-6400, to 228-6400 as dialing systems evolved. Remember numbers like 579, 1909W (party line), 9 (old Lasell’s market), and others before dial phones?

In the early 1940s, during the “Number, please” era, little sister, Christine, about age 4, picked up the phone by herself and asked the operator to call her “Grandma”. Ring, ring, and Grandma Sharkey (#96) answered. So simple was life in those days in our small town!


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