I become a transparent eye-ball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.
Just as Shani Kleinhaus the bird advocate spoke, and I tried to mentally reconstruct a riff proferred by nearly-elected water commissioner Gary Kremen, the man himself calls me back and I step outside to take the call, a break from the Palo Alto Council retreat Saturday at the El Palo room of the new Mitchell Center.
Gary, it seems, won the election by 900 votes almost specifically because a guy from our breakfast klatch — Gary bought in recently, as a neighbor in Barron Park to some friends of mine — forwarded him something seemingly trivial, about a cat-advocate group in Mountain View endorsing people in their local race. Gary, the story goes, sat down, focused for about an hour, calculated the potential outcomes of pitting cats vs. birds, issued a plank on water apropos of birds, won that endorsement and maybe that swung the vote, less than 1 percent margin, his way and away from the otherwise excellent incumbent Brian Schmidt. That, plus the $400,000 he spent, of his high tech (sex.com domain flipping, et cetera) earnings.
On the way in, with a blueberry scone from ADA’s, I thought of Emerson while selfying via an Oldham owl:
During my two minutes of orals, I think I said this:
This is my second or third time at this event, although I have been tracking these issues more closely for seven years now. The gamut of things we track go from whether the ground for example on Cali Ave has too much sharp glass and what can be done about it, sand down the glass or tear up the new sidewalk? — to the airy fairy — are there too many planes now, are they louder, are they smellier? I literally take off my cap to you council-members for handing such a bandwidth. I started to want to talk football, in honor of tomorrow’s Super Bowl, as an example. This year, because I have three friends or classmates with boys on the team, wrote 10 or 11 articles about Gunn football. I was remedying the fact that the Weekly covered Paly but not Gunn, and even covered a private school next door. But the family I started with, because my “godson” was playing, then even his father didn’t want the boy to play football. Is there the relative evil of Paly over covered versus Gunn, or the broader context of CTE and should we even allow football — so each issue is complicated and nuanced.
I like the Hawks over the Pats because I have met the mother of Richard Sherman and I know people who know the father of Russell Wilson. Thanks.
So that’s Ralph Waldo Emerson meets Grantland Rice meets (Jewish philosopher*) since it is Shabbat, the Jewish sabbath.
edit to add: I did not get to this in my 3-minute drill, but I was quoted in 2010 in PAW comparing Jim Keene to Bill Walsh, continuing the football theme but in the time it took me to write this, Jim is droning on and on; he did mention Cali Ave streetscape just as I wrote it.
I sat with Jennifer Landsman of Sky Posse for the start of the event, and meeting her influenced my remarks. I was trying to feed her, in the sense, not of mother-birds pre-digesting worms for their progeny, but of Slick Watts and Gus Williams throwing basketballs to Jack Sikma, if you excuse the triple-jump from football to basketball. As Chief S, himself says: all things connected.
May still get to: Palo Alto Goddam (a Nina Simone reference)
COACH KEENE … Is City Manager James Keene the dapper, wonky version of the late and great San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh? One City Council candidate seems to think so. Mark Weiss, who is running a campaign centered on public art, compared Keene to Walsh at Monday’s discussion of the California Avenue streetscape program. Weiss suggested that council spend less time talking about trees and argued that the council should just let the city manager handle the thorny issue. He compared the slew of difficult issues Keene has had to grapple with in his first year as city manager to Walsh’s growing pains in his first season as 49ers’ head coach. “I think he might be sort of like the Bill Walsh of city managers — the first year he was 4-12, then he delivered three Superbowls,” Weiss said (Walsh actually went 2-14 in 1979, his first year as head coach of the 49ers). Mayor Peter Drekmeier seconded the comparison. “We probably would have been 2-14 without Jim at the helm here,” Drekmeier said.
*I am going with: Moses Maimonides.