Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wildlike Care Association (WCA) Needs Care Itself

I love this group. It takes care of so many important needs in this area. Let's donate and keep it going:
For eight years, the association has operated out of the golf-ball shaped structure at the former Air Force base, serving as the region’s only center licensed to accept wild animals and help them recover until they can be returned to the wild.

But by August, if the group’s worst fears come to pass, the structure may have to shut down and force the staff to turn the birds over to be euthanized.

“We’ve been hurting financially for a long time,” association President Theresa Bielawski said this week as she pondered how the group can stave off a closure that would, for the first time, imperil the animals they have spent years trying to save.

A combination of factors has hit the group: The years-long recession has cut into donations that are its lifeblood; the drought has increased the number of animals facing difficulty in the wild; and the group itself acknowledges it has not done a good job seeking grants, public funds or publicity.

...Nearly all of the 39-year-old group’s funding comes from donations or an annual fundraiser. In past years, the group has managed to just scrape by with a tiny paid staff and as many as 100 volunteers.

But the financial situation has become so serious the association says it may be forced to shut down in August rather than following its usual routine of going largely dormant in October, when there are few birds hatching or newborn mammals being brought in. Most of the mammals found by citizens – foxes, skunks, possums, squirrels and other creatures found injured or unable to care for themselves – are farmed out to volunteers who care for them at their homes.

But the bulk of the birds – robins, herons, mockingbirds and others – fill cages, laundry baskets and converted children’s playpens at the McClellan facility, where the air is filled with the smell of bird dung and the sounds of singing and chirping.

...So far this year, the number of birds at the facility has peaked at 1,500. It costs as much as $1,500 a month to purchase food for the birds, and the number being brought in has jumped from an average of five to 10 a day to 25 to 40 a day, largely because of the drought.

The drop-off in donations has hit hard.

“We just don’t have the funds to keep it operating,” Turner said, estimating that she works an average of 50 hours a week trying to manage the load. “I know that donations have been down for several years in a row, and I think that’s just impacting how things are going.”

Monday, July 14, 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2

Saw this movie with Jetta. Felt sorry for her (torn meniscus again). Hard for her to get around now. May have to put planned stardom on hold.

Sort-of strange story, even though I loved the animation marvel of it. Guess I should have seen movie #1. I was bothered, as with many other movies since 1979's "Raiders of the Lost Ark", by people - even animated people - slamming into objects and being unhurt. Jetta said "Whattya mean? They've been doing that since Popeye!"

Probably won't see #3, but to each their own.

Arrogant NM Rancher

These are public lands, asshole:
While Lucero claimed that protection of the mice's stream habitats will force him "out of business," ranchers can simply pipe water from the river to their cattle rather than letting them go to the river in order to more responsibly graze, according to Lininger. Details such as this have been left out of local media coverage, including an article by New Mexico's largest newspaper, the Albuquerque Journal, titled "Endangered mouse may cost NM ranchers their livelihood" and from the right-wing Franklin Center's New Mexico

The Tamperer Feat. Maya - Feel It 2008 (Pop Trumpet Club Mix)

Entering The Iggy Azalea Battlefield

It seems to me that it's possible for a little foreign girl from very modest means to form a natural connection to the music of Tupac and other rappers, and to use her abilities to flourish in that field. Iggy Azalea is the wrong target, IMO. Maybe racism helps give her enough room to flourish, though.

I doubt that Iggy Azalea rolls out of bed every morning asking 'what can I appropriate today?' She may be taking that role, though, because it's the avenue of least resistance. It's not her. That's the system. She'd be rapping whatever her color or background.

Remember, the audience for rap and hip-hop is very, very large, and spans the entire globe.


I buckled down and lost 10+ pounds over the last two months. Now, I'm back at the Must Not Ever Exceed Under Any Circumstances weight from a few years ago, at least before I discovered the Combo Taco plate at Jim Boy's restaurant. Hopefully, I can continue this progress.

Under doctor's direction, I'm also beginning to cut back on blood pressure medication, since the excessively-high BP from a few years ago has fallen so low that I'm in danger of fainting. Finding the right titration may be a challenge, especially if the weight continues to slide.

Da Party Krew In The ABQ

Dance Workshop With Aurelia Michael

One of the excellent things about Step One Dance and Fitness is that they bring in guest instructors. On Saturday, they brought in Aurelia Michael, who taught a very fast-moving routine to a portion of Amerie's song, "Heard 'Em All".

Aurelia Michael taught two sessions, one for kids, and one for the olders. Still, I was surprised just how young most of the olders were: mostly in their teens. Tried to keep up!

Apparently Aurelia Michael danced with Janelle Monae. Here is a project where Aurelia Michael plays Janelle Monae:

Making The Rafters Shake

Under a decidedly different red, white, and blue banner, the cast of "Les Miserables" at DMTC in Davis give a thunderous rendition of "One Day More" after strike at Sudwerk Brewing Co.

A Scourge From The Skies

Tuesday, July 08, 2014



CSN, and Y (as Played By Jimmy Fallon) Cover Iggy Azalea's "Fancy"

Daniel - Breaking Bad (Hip Hop video)

Chumps At Work

It figures that chumpy conservative media are good for something, like acting as agents of the Cuban regime.
Tucker Carlson, editor in chief of the Daily Caller, said in a phone interview that it would be a major shock to him if the Cuban government spooled out a story that his reporters ran with — but that it’s also a hard claim for him to verify.

More Commemorations Regarding Tevye Ditter

Sigma Phi Epsilon honored Tevye in their newsletter:
Tevye Ditter, a graduate of the University of California-Davis and the California Eta Chapter, was known for his larger-than-life presence, made manifest in his height, his voice, and his legacy of serving others. Tevye's funeral service was at standing room capacity as family, friends and theatrical colleagues came from all over Northern California to give their condolences. Those in attendance included the Sacramento Choral Society, the Sacramento Philharmonic, the deputy director of the Department of Social Services and many other prominent leaders.

Why Are We Afraid Of Spiders?

I like the explanations given here:
There was also an effect from family. Those people fearful of spiders reported having a family member with similar fears, but the study was unable to separate genetic factors from environmental ones. What is surprising is that Davey found that archanophobia wasn’t the result of specific “spider trauma”, which means there was no support for the conditioning view.

So what makes spiders so terrifying? Surely it must be the threat of being bitten? Davey looked at that issue too. It turns out that it is not so much a fear of being bitten, but rather the seemingly erratic movements of spiders, and their “legginess”. Davey said.
Myself, I like the idea that the small, complicated shapes of spiders trigger fears of unanticipated attacks. Interestingly, that means the largest spiders are the most approachable, because they are more intelligent, move more slowly, and you can see them better. I really enjoyed meeting Breaking Bad's tarantula wrangler Christopher Lim because his spiders are shy, tentative around strangers, and lovable.

Great Images Of Storms

At the link.

I'll Never Find Those Statues

Trying to adequately respond to Linda Longmore Hayes' post (on Facebook) about the strange 8-bit Venus statue in Rhyolite, NV, I spent a fruitless hour paging through Web pages regarding Las Vegas from the Seventies. I remember a weird casino driveway being demolished on the Las Vegas Strip in about 1978. The driveway was lined by grotesque, chipped, gold-painted cement statues of muscle men. The bodies weren't anatomically-correct even, but full of inexplicable lumps, like the men had broken tendons, or something. They had gargoylish faces too, like their exercise regimens must have been way over the top. It seemed to be part of a Body Building fantasy land from the Sixties that had fallen on hard times, but it was erased so swiftly and completely from history, I can find no trace. It's only real impact was to make me fall in love with Las Vegas. I mean, where else on Earth would it occur to someone to make something like this? In any event, here is a video of 70's history, that emphasizes that the plot to the movie "Casino" was based on reality:

Noa Solorio In Today's Sacramento Bee

Pleased that DMTC YPT'er Noa Solorio (10 shows in 2.5 years: 2011-2013) gets such great ink in today's Sacramento Bee!:
The family is bolstered by young local actors Noa Solorio and Ben Ainley-Zoll, who play children Jane and Michael Banks.

“These kids are better than any kids I could have found around the country,” Casale said. “They’re so professional. They’ve been here eight hours a day, doing every job every actor does, and these are local kids and I forget that.”

The two have been rehearsing their parts since March and have had a dialogue coach helping their English accents. They’ve worked at Music Circus before with Casale in the chorus of “The Music Man,” but now they are featured actors.

“They’ve got to hold this show together and I can’t say enough about how prepared they are,” he said.

Monday, July 07, 2014


I can't help but marvel at the influences at work here. When I was a teenager, I belonged to the Science Fiction Book Club. One of the monthly selections was Fritz Leiber's fun novel, "A Specter is Haunting Texas," a story of post-nuclear America, where weightlessness-weakened astronaut Scully Christopher Crockett La Cruz returns to Earth within an exoskeleton to reclaim a family Canadian mine, only to discover Canada is now North Texas.

When Gil described his upcoming surgery, which will require the use of titanium strips within his chest, it reminded me of the novel, so I went out on Google to find this cover art by Richard Clifton-Dey for a British edi­tion of “A Spec­tre Is Haunt­ing Texas”. And Gil, with the aid of the slogan remembered by his brother for the Seventies TV show "The Six-Million-Dollar Man," now has the coolest of T-Shirts!

The best of luck, Gil! I want to be acting on stage with you soon, my brother!

Voyager One Has Left The Solar System

Going, going, gone:
NASA confirmed Thursday that the space craft left the solar system more than a year ago, traveling in the space between stars.

Voyager 1 first launched into space in 1977 to study the outer planets, but after completing its mission in 1989, the craft continued traveling––about 12 billion miles in total. It’s now so far away that its radio signals take 17 hours to reach Earth.

...Officials confirmed Voyager’s interstellar journey based on space plasma density evidence. Readings from April/May compared with October/November of last year showed the number of protons occupying every cubic centimeter in space increased by almost 100 times. This has been attributed to Voyager leaving the magnetic fields and particle winds billowing from the sun’s surface. Scientists calculate Voyager’s departure from the solar system at or around August 25, 2012. Moving at 100,000 miles per hour, Voyager is expected to be near another star in 40,000 years.

Scientists began debating on Voyager’s location earlier this year. In March, the American Geophysical Union declared the craft had left the solar system, but NASA was reluctant to agree until the surrounding magnetic fields changed direction. NASA’s confirmation Thursday should put the controversy to bed.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Fun With The Scrub Jays

Scrub Jay with peanut.

A week ago I posted on Facebook:
It's fun to watch the Scrub Jays! The fledglings are almost old enough to be on their own, but not quite. Baby was bleating, shaking its wings and begging mama for food. I tossed peanuts to them. Mama grabbed one, and baby grabbed another one. Baby pecked at the shell like mama had done, but listlessly, without understanding or determination. Just too hard. So baby went back to begging for food, because it's just easier that way.
Now, the babies seem to be more or less on their own (with a little help from Big Bird Marc).

Scrub Jay with peanut.

Two Scrub Jays, one on the left with peanut.

Scrub Jay enjoying the afternoon.

"Les Misérables" - Saturday Afternoon Arrest At The Corner Gas Station Recycling Center

Heading to "Les Misérables" at DMTC on Saturday afternoon, I realized I first needed to get some gasoline. So, I stopped to fill up at the gas station at the corner of 24th Street and Broadway in Sacramento.

As I pumped gas, I could see a fellow standing nearby in handcuffs, accompanied by a security guard. They both appeared to be waiting for the cops. Handcuff guy said "Don't EVER bring your recyclables to this place! You have watch these guys real careful when they weigh things, because if you take your eyes away, even for a second, they'll cheat." Pointing at a plastic garbage bag on the pavement, handcuff guy continued, "See that bag there? They were only going to give me twelve dollars for it! And now that they say I'm trespassing, they're simply going to steal it!" After that, I could hear both handcuff guy and the security guard muttering disrespectful things to each other.

When I left, I bade handcuff guy the best of luck with what looked like a difficult situation.

"Les Misérables" - DMTC - Bows For Saturday Afternoon Performance - 07/05/14

Scott Scholes (Marius) and Jori Gonzales (Cosette).

What a great show! Among DMTC's best ever!
Cyndi Wall and Mike Mechanik (The Thenardiers).
Acknowledgment of the Orchestra.
Final Bows.

Selling Pizza, Beer, And Popcorn With DMTC At Community Park In Davis On July Fourth

Shrek Auditions - DMTC - Sunday Night 06/29/14

Duck Sauce - It's You

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Back When Crack Was King

This parking lot brings back nostalgic memories of the crack cocaine epidemic of 1990. In 1990, this was my workplace, behind the Old Governor's Mansion on I St. in Sacramento. The many drug dealers in nearby motels enjoyed the convenient parking lot lighting and sold their wares here after hours. Teenage hoodlum lookouts watched the area during the day. It made me nervous. So, I started lingering after work, spying on the sales, and calling the cops whenever the action was hot. The drug dealers didn't know what hit them. Eventually, after several sets of arrests, they associated bad luck with the parking lot and pushed on.

Trouble At The Fishhook Interchange

For the last week and a half, I've been part of a jury empaneled at the Sacramento County Courthouse to listen to, and decide, a civil suit regarding a troubled construction project, the 2006 rebuilding of the Fishhook Interchange (Highways 1 and 17) on the outskirts of Santa Cruz, between the plaintiff, Cooper Crane & Rigging, Inc./West Coast Welding, Inc. Joint Venture, and against the defendants, Pavex-Myers, Joint Venture; SAFECO Insurance Co. of America, Inc.

There certainly were troubles aplenty at this interchange:

The highest traffic volume on Segment 17 occurs on sub-segment 17C where 2002 volume was 109,400. Volume could rise to 137,000 in 2025. Level of service was “F” in 2002 and would perform even more poorly in the year 2025. At present this sub-segment is a four-lane freeway. Segment 17 ends at a complex interchange with SR 17 and Segment 18 of Route 1. One element of the interchange is a looped ramp called the “fishhook”, which carries northbound traffic from Segment 17 on to Segment 18 at a lower grade. Topographic and environmental concerns and the high cost of reconfiguring this interchange for safety, improved operations, and additional capacity have challenged Caltrans and the community for years.

General contractor Pavex/C.C. Myers had a big plan for the intersection:

The Highway 1/17 Merge Lanes Project in Santa Cruz kicked off in April 2006. This Joint Venture with Pavex Construction Company involved extensive clear and grub followed by a large dirt moving operation to cut slopes adjacent to Highway 1, moving the material to the Branciforte Creek and Carbonera Creek areas. Peripheral sound wall and creek work, including diversions, cofferdams, demolition, and excavations, was completed in October 2006.

The creek bridges were followed by bridges on Emeline St., Market St., and Branciforte Ave. In addition, several retaining walls were constructed. This project was completed in July 2008.

Cooper Crane & Rigging, Inc./West Coast Welding, Inc. were brought in as a subcontractor to excavate and build the Cast-in-drilled-hole piles (CIDH piles). These piles were intended to be firmly lodged into basement rock according to CALTRANS drawings and specifications, and Cooper Crane bid the job with that expectation.

The trouble started when the actual site didn't match the CALTRANS drawings. The basement rock was deeper than the drawings indicated, and much-deeper drilling was called for. Valuable time was wasted in trying to adjust to the changed circumstances. In time, it was decided to pour a concrete slurry to form the base of the piles instead of using the cast-in-drilled hole method. This approach wasn't envisioned during the bidding process, and would cost a different amount of money. In addition, CALTRANS called for an acceleration of the work (but did not see fit to issue a change-order). Given the 'change of character' of the work, it was agreed that Cooper Crane would follow a Force Account method to bill for the work, which they hoped CALTRANS would pay through Pavex/Myers, provided they could 'establish merit' that the work they were doing was necessary. As the work proceeded, various frictions between the contractor and subcontractor occurred, and each assessed back charges against each other. Pavex/Myers also obtained a second drill rig from another subcontractor to assist Cooper Crane accelerate the schedule.

(I hope I'm getting the essence of the case here, without distorting overmuch what happened.)

Quite surprisingly, CALTRANS did not find that Cooper Crane had 'established merit', and wouldn't pay their extra expenses. CALTRANS maintained that there was nothing about the character of the site that had changed, and so the original bid should have sufficed. A complicated arbitration process followed, which allowed Pavex/Myers to eventually settle for a portion of their expenses. Cooper Crane was out of luck, however. They hadn't been paid for some of their work, and Pavex/Myers had charged back charges they felt were inappropriate. In addition, there was no change order to cover the second drill rig. Cooper Crane felt it wasn't supposed to be part of the Force Account work, but Pavex/Myers wouldn't pay for it, since there was no change order from CALTRANS. So Cooper Crane filed suit against Pavex/Myers for expenses and Pavex/Myers countersued to force Cooper Crane to pay for the drill rig.

The cases have been in a complicated limbo ever since. Here is something from March of this year:

Item 2: 2009-00042196-CU-MCCooper Crane & Rigging Inc vs. Pavex-Myers

Nature of Proceeding:Filed By:
Motion for Summary Adjudication
Pierce, Timothy L.

Defendants Pavex-Myers (“Pavex”) and Safeco Insurance Company of America, Inc.’s (collectively “Defendants”) motion for summary adjudication of Plaintiff Cooper Crane & Rigging, Inc./West Cost Welding, Inc.’s, (“Plaintiff”) claims for prompt payment penalties and attorney’s fees is ruled upon as follows. This motion is brought pursuant to CCP §437c(s)(1). The parties have stipulated that the Court hear the motion and that resolution of this motion will either further the interests of judicial economy by reducing the time to be consumed in trial or significantly increase the ability of the parties to resolve the case by settlement. Pavex is admonished as its separate statement does not comply with CRC 3.1342(h). Defendant separately identifies 16 undisputed material facts. Defendant also moves for summary adjudication on 3 issues. However, Defendant did not repeat verbatim the undisputed material facts below each issue. Rather, Defendant simply identifies the number of the undisputed fact in support of the issue.

This is an action arising out of a construction contract for the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”). Pavex was the general contractor on the project. Plaintiff was a subcontractor hired to install cast-in-drilled-hole piling, among others items. Problems arose with the project which resulted in Plaintiff conducting additional work on contract items 97, 98 and 99. Plaintiff submitted a claim to Pavex for the additional work, which Pavex “passed through” to Caltrans per the subcontract agreement. The matter then proceeded to an Office of Administrative Hearings. Pavex was the Petitioner, Caltrans was the Respondent, and Plaintiff was an interested party. The arbitrator found in favor of Pavex and awarded $1,950,853.00, of which $92,898 was for Pavex’s 5% mark-up on the claim. Plaintiff alleges that pursuant to the force account payment terms, Pavex failed to timely pay Plaintiff. (FAC, ¶ 13.) Plaintiff alleges that “as determined by the arbitrator, Plaintiff was forced to self-finance work performed to the tune of $1,857,956.00 due to defendant Pavex/Myers’ failure to pay Plaintiff in accordance with the terms of the Subcontract, its incorporated force account provisions and its implied terms.” (FAC, ¶ 15.)

Prompt Payment Penalties
Pavex argues that Plaintiff is not entitled to recover prompt payment penalties because: (1) the amount claimed by Plaintiff as the basis for the penalties is not retention or progress payments, (2) the amount that Plaintiff claims Pavex withheld was never due under the subcontract, and (3) Pavex promptly paid Plaintiff after Caltrans paid Pavex the pass-through amount pursuant to the arbitrator’s decision. Public Contracts Code §10262 requires a general contractor to pay its subcontractor, within seven days of receipt, of each progress payment. (Pub. Contracts Code §10262.) Public Contracts Code §7017 requires a general contractor to pay its subcontractor, within seven days of receipt, its share of retention proceeds. (Pub. Contracts Code §7107.) Pavex contends that Plaintiff’s verified discovery responses indicate that the underlying amount on which Plaintiff’s prompt penalties is based ($1,249,000) is neither a progress payment nor retention proceeds. Plaintiff’s discovery responses state that the $1,249,000 is the “value that [Pavex-Myers] was paid by Caltrans for Items 97, 98, and 99 in the amount of $2,422,728 and subtracting the amount [Pavex-Myers] paid to Plaintiff . . . $1,173,684.” (Defendant’s separate statement, UMF 12-13.) According to Pavex, this amount represents Pavex’s profit and payment for work beyond the work done by Plaintiff. Pavex also contends that Plaintiff did not bill for these amounts (Defendant’s separate statement, UMF 14) which is necessary for them to qualify as progress or retention payments. Pavex has failed to satisfy its initial burden to demonstrate no triable issue of material fact. Here, there is no dispute that Caltrans paid Pavex for contract items 97, 98, and 99 in the amount of $2,422,728. Despite Pavex’s contention that this amount represents Pavex’s profit and payment for work beyond the work done by Plaintiff, Pavex has failed to proffer evidence to support this purported fact. As noted in Plaintiff’s opposition, Pavex has not proffered any evidence that the payments Pavex received for contract items 97-99 during the project were payments for something other than the work that Plaintiff performed on those contract items. Indeed, Pavex’s separate statement does not include the “fact” that the $2,242,728 was paid to Pavex solely for work done by Pavex. Thus, Pavex has not shown, on the undisputed facts, that the payment Caltrans made to Pavex does not fall within Public Contracts Code §10262. Accordingly, the motion for summary adjudication on Plaintiff’s entitlement to prompt payment penalties is DENIED.

Attorneys’ Fees based on Prompt Payment Statutes
Pavex argues that Plaintiff is not entitled to attorneys’ fees pursuant to Pub. Contracts Code §10262.5 because Plaintiff is not entitled to prompt payment penalties. The motion for summary adjudication is DENIED. The Court has denied Pavex’s motion for summary adjudication on Plaintiff’s entitlement to prompt payment penalties.

Cooper Crane's Attorneys’ Fees Incurred during Arbitration
Plaintiff is seeking $320,000 in attorneys’ fees based on the “actual amounts invoiced.” Pavex argues that given the limited activity in this action, presumably most of these fees related to the arbitration. Pavex argues that Plaintiff is not entitled to attorneys’ fees incurred in the arbitration because: (1) the arbitration was not an action “for collection of funds wrongfully withheld” (Pub. Contracts Code §10262.5(a)), and (2) Plaintiff did not “prevail” in the arbitration because the arbitration was between Pavex and Caltrans.Public Contracts Code §10262.5(a) provides “[i]n any action for the collection of funds wrongfully withheld, the prevailing party shall be entitled to his or her attorney's fees and costs.” (Pub. Contracts Code §10262.5(a).) Pavex argues that the arbitration was not “for the collection of funds wrongfully withheld” because “the arbitration was designed to determine the merit, and if merit was found, the amount due to Pavex for Plaintiff’s pass-through claim for additional work related to item nos. 97-99. (Defendant’s separate statement, UMF, 7.) There is no dispute that the subcontract has a prevailing party provision entitling a prevailing party to recover its attorneys’ fees. The subcontract provides “either party shall be entitled to all remedies afforded by law to enforce their respective rights under this Subcontract. In the event legal proceedings are commenced by either party against the other to enforce the provision of this subcontract, or for breach thereof, the prevailing party shall be entitled to the payment of reasonable attorney’s fee.”In opposition to the motion, Plaintiff argues the motion is premature because Plaintiff may prevail in this case and that the determination of entitlement to and amount of attorney’s fees should be made post-judgment and pursuant to a motion for attorney’s fees. Plaintiff further argues that Pavex has failed to analyze the various contractual and statutory fee-shifting vehicles available to Plaintiff. The Court disagrees with Plaintiff that the motion is premature. Indeed, Plaintiff stipulated to summary adjudication of its entitlement to attorney’s fees. Moreover, Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate a triable issue of material fact. Here, Plaintiff does not substantively dispute that the arbitration was not an “action for the collection of funds wrongfully withheld.” Plaintiff’s fact in response Pavex’s UMF 7 is not responsive and does not substantively dispute Pavex’s fact. Plaintiff also does not dispute that Pavex was the prevailing party in the arbitration. (Defendant’s UMF 8.) Additionally, the prevailing party in the subcontract agreement only applies to legal proceedings commenced “by either party against the other” (i.e. Pavex and Plaintiff). Here, the arbitration was not a legal proceeding commenced by Pavex/Plaintiff against the other. Lastly, the Court is not persuaded that Pavex’s failure to analyze the “various contractual and statutory fee-shifting vehicles available to Plaintiff” requires the Court to deny the motion. Indeed, Plaintiff has not identified any of the “various vehicles”, if any, that it contends Pavex should have addressed. Accordingly, Pavex's motion for summary adjudication Plaintiff's claim for attorney’s fees incurred in the arbitration is GRANTED. Pavex’s objections to the Declaration of Anthony Will are OVERRULED.

Pavex’s objections to the Declaration of John Gladych are ruled upon as follows:
Sustained: 5
Overruled: 1, 2, 3, 4

The minute order is effective immediately. No formal order pursuant to CRC Rule 3.1312 or further notice is required.
As you can see, just to describe the nature of the problem requires great specificity and knowledge of the law. I am just a simple person, and find it all quite trying. Nevertheless, we twelve were chosen to decide the case. I was surprised I was chosen. My experience with voir dire for criminal cases in the past has been that I get rejected quickly from the process because of my Ph.D. degree. Scientists and engineers tend to look a matters cold-bloodedly, and reject emotional pleas, making us bad risks for criminal defendants. In this civil case, however, my background is a benefit, because it means I can pay attention to details. These sorts of details are well out of my ken, however, so I found it tough going. Nevertheless, some of the others on the jury had backgrounds in accounting, and some familiarity with contracts, so following the bouncing ball was a little easier for them.

I was very surprised on the opening day of the trial when the jury was introduced to Dan Himick, CEO of C.C. Myers. Holy crap, what is he doing here?! Sacramento's Fix-50 highway project, which was being supervised by C.C. Myers wasn't yet wrapped up! C.C. Myers construction firm has a spectacular reputation as the state's go-to company when the State of California needs to beat deadlines to rebuild economically-crucial infrastructure that collapses due to earthquakes, etc. There are times when the CEO of C.C. Myers is arguably more important than the Governor of California! Yet here he was, with far-more-important matters calling for his attention, here in this courtroom!

The attorneys were very professional, and after years of sparring against each other in pitched battles, very cooperative with each other in presenting their cases.

Initially, I sided with the plaintiff, but was the case advanced, I gained sympathy for the defendant. They were acting according to their interest, of course, and largely honorably. The real malefactor here was CALTRANS, which unfortunately wasn't part of the cases. These two contractors were trapped in a web of CALTRANS' making. The night before our deliberation started, I wasn't even sure in my own mind what stance to take regarding these cases.

And so, yesterday July 1, 2014, we the jury found on behalf of the plaintiff, Cooper Crane & Rigging, Inc./West Coast Welding, Inc. Joint Venture, and against the defendants, Pavex-Myers, Joint Venture; SAFECO Insurance Co. of America, Inc. I was quite surprised how quickly we came to a verdict - 2.5 hours. That was even faster than the 3 hour deliberation in the 1984 murder trial I was a juror for before!

I was most curious about Exhibits 509 and 510, the CALTRANS merit denial, which I found astonishing, but which were outside the immediate scope of these lawsuits.

Exhibit 2 was the contract between Pavex/Myers and Cooper Crane, and contained boilerplate language reserving certain rights to Pavex/Myers for delaying payments in the event of disagreements, etc. As emphasized by various jurors, however, this language was struck out by mutual agreement, and initialed by Pavex/Myers. That meant Pavex/Myers COULD NOT withhold money for back charges, at least in the manner Pavex/Myers cryptically did, with perfunctory explanations given to Cooper Crane. Cooper Crane had better records than Pavex/Myers did, and the jury was inclined to believe their arguments as a result. Thus the jury found on behalf of the plaintiff. Regarding the second drill rig, since Pavex/Myers had initially arranged for the second drill rig to come to the site and didn't provide adequate invoices for showing how payment was to be arranged, the jury found against Pavex/Myers in their counter suit against Cooper Crane. These determinations were unanimous. (I had some reservations regarding the drill rig, since both parties benefitted from its use, but even if I had voted against this matter, the jury's 11-1 majority would have sufficed to meet the applicable 9-3 preponderance-of-the-evidence civil-case criteria here.) Everywhere, there signs that haste to meet the Accelerated Effort's demands compromised the contracting process. Certain jurors, particularly with accounting backgrounds, were much-more-certain of their positions than I was.

Afterwards, we learned that the potential for awarding damages had been removed from our jury instructions just the day before. I have no doubt that had that option been available, the jury would have awarded damages to Cooper Crane.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scrub Jay Horseplay

There's been a family of four Scrub Jays hanging around the house the last few days. It's wonderful! The young ones were playing pretty aggressively. One knocked it's brother over on his back and made as if to attack him. Never seen that before!

Another Day Down At The Courts

Step One Dance And Fitness - 2014 Spring Recital - 06/21/14

Great time watching the students dance!


Annual Sierra Picnic, East Portal Park, 06/21/14

Social Distortion - California (Hustle and Flow) - Live 2011

Like Mark Bolan and Tina Turner had a love child:

"Well, I was born, babe, with nothing to lose
But the black man taught me how to sing the blues
Made a little life outta rock 'n' roll
And that crazy California hustle and flow"

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sean Paul - Get Busy

Oh, I got my Sean Paul songs mixed up! This one is on the NPR's List of Top Summer Songs, and I remember it ruling the Las Vegas Strip in Autumn 2003. Ever since I took a dance class from Laure Courtellemont and got blown away by her style, I've become interested in Jamaican Dancehall.