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Cutting $$ Out of California’s Prisons – The Real Numbers – UPDATED

July 31st, 2009 by Celeste Fremon


There was much quarreling in the past two weeks about the proposed $1.2 billion dollars
that is slated to come out of California’s corrections budget. The implication has been that the proposed cuts would drastically impair public safety, triggering a virtual crime wave.

The fighting has amped up considerably in the wake of the murder of Lily Burk.

First of all, what many people may not realize is that, at this point, the argument is no longer about if that $1.2 billion will be cut. That number is part of the budget that the governor signed yesterday.

The question at hand is what will be cut from where-
–all of which will not be decided until the legislature returns in mid-to-late August.

Earlier in the week, I spent an hour on the phone with the California legislative analyst’s office talking about the latest corrections cuts proposal—and what it means.

(A copy of the broad strokes of the suggested cuts may be found after the jump).

It was an instructive conversation. For one thing, analyst Paul Golaszewski told me that while there is some talk of early release for certain inmates under certain prescribed circumstances, no one is talking about releasing 27,000 prisoners. “We never saw a proposal like that,” he said. “Nothing even close.”

In other words, there will be no inmate dump, okay? So let us stop talking in those terms, shall we?

(I noted that Ron Kaye was still marching out the 27,000 figure
as recently as yesterday. He did it, as many have done this week, in reference to the alleged murderer of Lily Burk, Charlie Samuel:

“Well, there are going to be 27,000 just like him!” announced Kaye. “[Samuel] is someone who shot, kidnapped and…” And Kaye’s fact-free recitation went on from there.

Instead, why don’t we look at what is actually is on the table.


One of the lynch pins of the governor’s proposed CDCR budget cuts, has to do with reducing by 19,000 inmates what is called the ADP—or average daily population. This will supposedly produced a savings of $400,000—or around $21,000 per person per year.

(Whether that savings is close to accurate
is something that has been convincingly questioned by my former prison warden friend, David Winett. But we’ll yank apart the numbers on another day.)

Again—and I want to make sure this is clear—that does NOT mean that 19,000 people will be slated for early release.

Instead, the governor hopes to make that population reduction in the following ways:

1. ADP reduction strategy #1: changing certain property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

These felony-to-misdemeanor reductions would include things like writing bad checks, and receiving stolen goods. The point is, as misdemeanors they would be punished by jail time and/or probation instead of swelling the prison population. (You can see the entire list below.)

This part of the strategy doesn’t mean letting people out. It means not putting them in prison in the first place—yet still demanding that they be sanctioned for their actions.

2. ADP reduction strategy #2 – Using “alternative custody options” for lower-risk offenders.

Okay, here’s where the early release piece of the puzzle kicks in.

The governor would like to make certain inmates eligible to serve the last 12 months of their sentence under house arrest with GPS monitoring. The prisoners who might qualify are those low-level offenders with 12 months or less left on their sentence, elderly inmates, and very, very sick inmates.

However the proposal stipulates that the inmates would be chosen only with input from law enforcement, victims groups and other concerned citizens.

Yes, this means that certain people would get months, or even a year, shaved off of their sentences. But, instead of being warehoused in an overcrowded, violent facility that offers little opportunity to better oneself and every possibility of becoming further criminalized, with GPS monitoring and many of these inmates would be eligible to receive drug treatment and other services or training programs, that might better help them to succeed on the outside and not return to prison. Remember, all these people—every single one— will be getting out in 12 months or less anyway. Would you rather they were released from supervision in slightly better shape than when they went in? Or only further damaged—and then dumped in the community with zero preparation or transitional supervision? Just a question.


UPDATE: Here’s a report that KPCC’s Frank Stoltz did today (Friday) that has some additional details on this part of the proposal, plus Frank has some interesting takes on the matter from several who work in law enforcements—not all of whom agree with each other.


FYI: had the alleged killer of Lily Burk been released early from prison under such a program (Which he wasn’t. He served 80 percent of his sentence for petty burglary as is required for second time offenders) that means he would have had on a GPS ankle bracelet so that when he AWOLed from his “escort” last Friday, the guy who was to be with him during his afternoon away from the half way house where he was assigned by the court, the cops could have been immediately alerted and could have picked picked him up right away.

3. ADP reduction strategy # 3 – Commutation of the sentences of “Select Deportable Criminal Aliens”

At his discretion, the governor can commute the sentences of undocumented prisoners who are going to be deported the minute they leave lock up anyway. That way they can be transferred forthwith to the Feds who will deport them to their country of origin and we can stop paying the tens of thousands of dollars to act as their hoteliers. (The Lege Analyst told me that it costs either $49,000 or $23,000 a year to house one of our prisoners—depending upon what expenses you count when you do the math. Don’t ask. It’s way too confusing.)

Again, the only people eligible for this commutation
thing will be low level, nonviolent offenders. The petty drug dealer/user guys and the like. Anybody who has committed a serious crime will stay put.


There are a number of other parts to the plan.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in California budget, CDCR, prison policy | 97 Comments »

Finding the Words to Talk About the Death of a Child

July 30th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon


Wednesday’s Fresh Air,
featured a poet named Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno who has recently released her first collection of poetry called Slamming Open the Door that is getting a great deal of well- deserved attention.

In 2003, the lives of Kathleen Bonanno and her husband plunged into a life-shattering tragedy that was very similar to the one that has overtaken Greg Burk and Deborah Drooz, the parents of Lily Burk.

2003 was when Kathleen’s daughter Leidy Bonanno was found dead in her apartment, strangled with a telephone cord by an ex-boyfriend. The poems in Slamming Open the Door chronicle Leidy’s murder and each step of the aftermath.

The work is almost unbearable to read—or to hear read, as Bonanno does on the show—but it also shimmers with jagged-edged beauty, courage and power. The poems are rageful. Drenched in the deepest kind of grief. Totally cleansing.

It was actually WLA commenter Woody who brought the show and Bonanno’s poetry to my attention. And, in the last comment thread, he has written more eloquently about the broadcast than I have.

I was hesitant to post about this book—for obvious reasons. Yet the fearful symmetry was difficult to ignore. And I judged the poems might, for some, offer an unlikely form of comfort.

I leave you to listen and make up your own mind.

Here is the link.

And here are five of the poems. Be sure to read the last one.

Death Barged In

In his Russian greatcoat,
slamming open the door
with an unpardonable bang,
and he has been here ever since.

He changes everything,
rearranges the furniture,
his hand hovers
by the phone;
he will answer now, he says;
he will be the answer.

Tonight he sits down to dinner
at the head of the table
as we eat, mute;
later, he climbs into bed
between us.

Even as I sit here,
he stands behind me
clamping two
colossal hands on my shoulders
and bends down
and whispers to my neck:
From now on,
you write about me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in American artists, crime and punishment, Life in general, parole policy, writers and writing | 10 Comments »

I’ll Be On Which Way LA? Tonight RE: Lily Burk & Parole Policy

July 29th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

This evening at 7 p.m, {Actually our segment is on at 7:30 ] I’ll be on Warren Olney’s Which Way LA?
along with LAPPL President Paul Weber.

We’ll be talking about the tragedy of Lily Burk’s death, the media coverage of the crime, and whether or not it’s being used as a political football.

We will also discuss prison and parole policy as those topics relate to the proposed $1.2 billion in cuts to the CDCR budget to be decided upon in August by the California State Leg.

Tune in at 7 p.m. at KCRW – 89.9 FM – to hear it live.

Or listen to the podcast when it goes up here.

Posted in crime and punishment, media | 9 Comments »

Health Care. What are We doing?

July 29th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon


A quick break from reporting
on sad LA issues:

Yesterday afternoon, I talked at length with one of California’s legislative analysts in order to find out how he thinks the state can slash the necessary 1.2 million of the CDCR budget.

I’ll get to all this later today. Right now fatigue is making me too fuzzy-headed to make sense of it. In the meantime…..

Tuesday’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross was about the proposed health care plans. The guests were two economists—one conservative, one liberal. The liberal was Paul Krugman. The conservative was Heritage Foundation Vice President Stuart Butler

They were both wonderfully informative and each had very interesting points to make.

I guarantee you’ll come away feeling smarter, with a better grasp on the issues than when you tuned in.

Posted in Public Health | 15 Comments »

Arnold “Line Item Vetos” State Parks Funding – UPDATED

July 28th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon


Using the poorly named “line item veto,”
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger managed, with the stroke of a pen, to make a series of unilateral budget cuts that bypassed legislative approval.

They include an additional $6.2 million cut from the state parks budget,
which according to Bob Cruickshank at CALTICS will likely cause as many as 50 more parks to be closed—or 100 total, which is potentially 1/3 of California’s State Parks.


UPDATE: Here is a letter from California State Parks Foundation president Elizabeth Goldstein:

“This is a dark day in the history of California’s state park system. At a time when Californians are most in need of their low cost, accessible state parks, the gates are being slammed in their faces. At a time when local businesses, particularly in rural communities, most rely on tourism and park visitation for their own economic stimulus, the doors are being shut to them. In the context of an $85 billion General Fund budget, the $14.2 million in “savings” that would come from closing more than 100 state parks is truly a drop in the bucket. But it’s a small drop that will have a ripple effect, then a tsunami, for park visitors and local economies.

Closing more than one-third of the state park system cannot be done
without real consequences to Californians. Although CSPF and other park partners are already trying to identify ways to keep some parks open, it will simply not be possible for the state to walk away from 100 parks and expect others to fully substitute for its public responsibility. California’s state parks have been teetering on the brink of a funding cliff for several decades, this action now pushes them over the edge. California cannot afford for its state parks to be a political football every year. Our state parks desperately need a dedicated funding source to protect them from these now- annual budget actions.”


CALTICS also reports:

• Elimination of state funding for community health clinic programs

• $80 million cut to child welfare services

• Total of about $400 million in health care cuts, including further Healthy Families cuts

• Elimination of funding for the Williamson Act programs to preserve farmland from development

• Deeper cuts to HIV/AIDS programs,

The only fallback position is a veto override.

About that: Fat chance.

But, hey, let’s make sure we keep that 1.2 billion in corrections. (More about that tomorrow. I have some new thoughts about early prisoner release. HINT: It’s not at all what you think.)

God help me, I’m beginning to think we should revisit oil drilling. I’m serious. (If you disagree and are not driving a hybrid, I don’t want to hear about it.) (Or a VW, or other cunning non-gas guzzler.]

Photo by Gary Valle,

Posted in California budget, environment, public assistance, Public Health | 17 Comments »

The Death of Lily Burk….What We Do NOT Know – UPDATED

July 27th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon


After spending way more time than was likely sensible
talking on the phone and exchanging emails with various people from the LAPD, the DA’s office, and the police union, this is what I can tell you thus far about the criminal past of Charlie Samuel, the 50-year old vagrant who is accused of the soul-wrenching murder of 17-year-old Lily Burk:

1. Samuel’s most recent felony conviction appears to be in July 2006,
for petty theft, a misdemeanor charge that was bumped up to a felony because of a prior conviction. He went to prison for the theft and was paroled in February of this year.

2. Just exactly what that “prior” conviction or convictions plural was
—and when it/they occurred—has yet to be confirmed. Over the years, Samuel is reported to have committed at least one burglary and/or a robbery, maybe both, maybe a number of burglaries.* [NOTE UPDATES ON OLD CONVICTIONS AT END OF POST]

What we also do know is that, between 2003 and now, other than the one petty theft, Samuel committed some very small crimes:

3, In August of 2003 he was convicted of driving with a suspended driver’s license.

4. In July of 2006, , he was convicted of putting a non-coin slug into a parking meter.

5. After he was paroled in February of 2009 for the theft, in April of 2009 he violated the terms of his parole by being found with a crack pipe.

So does all that add up to someone whom we should have spotted as a man so bad or crazy that he would kill a 17-year old girl? Or is there lots more?

When the case goes to the D.As office—which may occur today— we may be able to get a better idea, as the prosecutor will need to acquire an accurate listing of Samuel’s prior criminal activity.

Until then, it would be good to stick to what we know.

It was, for instance, not helpful when early Monday morning, Richard Winton reported for the LA Times that Samuel had a “history of violent crimes.” Winton wrote:

A law enforcement source said Samuel had a previous history of assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and kidnapping.

At first look, this was dramatic news. The man had a prior kidnapping conviction? And an assault with a deadly weapon?

Except that when the assertions were probed, it appears that the kidnapping and the assault were merely arrests, not convictions.

Yet because the Times did not differentiate but instead gave the blanket impression that all were convictions, the error was reported as fact by many in the local electronic media—and then further spun to make a political point by former Daily News editor turned blogger, Ron Kaye, and to a lesser degree, by the LA Weekly.

Finally at 6:30 Monday night, the Times corrected the story to read:

Sources familiar with his criminal past say [Samuel] has been arrested previously for assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping and robbery. He has spent several years in state prison. However, his convictions are more limited and include robbery of an inhabited dwelling, burglary and petty theft.

But by that time the correction was posted, the toothpaste was not only out of the tube, it had sprouted legs and was running down the road.

Ron Kaye wrote:

Charlie Samuel is the poster child for the kind of thugs classified as “non-violent offenders” despite a history of violent behavior — the kind of hopeless criminal who would be included in the governor’s planned release of 27,000 convicts to reduce prison cost.

The Weekly’s report was similar in tone and questioned why Samuel was “allowed to remain on the streets.”

(Oh, gee, I don’t know. It’s that pesky rule-of-law thing again. Troublesome that.)


Just to be clear: Speaking purely personally, if I had the foresight and the opportunity to make Charlie Samuel disappear from the earth by, say, 2 p.m. on Friday July 24, I would do so in heartbeat.

And, when everything is finally known, I’m sure we will find the actual facts of this case are quite ghastly and alarming enough.

But, until that time, no good will come of spinning, generalizing, inventing or exaggerating the truth in order to serve anybody’s personal, professional, or political agenda. No good ever does.
NOTE: This morning’s LA Times story headlined “Collision of 2 L.A. worlds may have led to girl’s death” by Ari Bloomkatz, Joel Rubin and Richard Winton, is well reported and heartbreaking.

And for those wondering if the LAPD definitely has the right guy, this LA Times story answers that question.
*UPDATE: This morning’s LA Times reports that:

In July 1987, Samuel was sentenced to six years in prison for robbing a residence in San Bernardino County, according to the California Department of Corrections. In the years that followed, Samuel was paroled several times and repeatedly returned to prison when he committed other crimes or otherwise violated the terms of his release, records show.


Here are more details on Samuel’s three felony convictions based on CDCR records:

TO RECAP: Charlie Samuel’s most recent felony conviction was in 2006 and was for petty theft, meaning he probably stole something minor from a store. As I mentioned before, because he had two prior convictions the misdemeanor charge was pushed to a felony, and he got prison time: 2 years 8 months.

His prior offenses were:

1. 2nd degree burglary in January of 1998, 11 years ago. (2nd degree means it involved a store or commercial establishment, not a home). He received 2 years, 8 months of which he served 2 years, paroled in Jan 2000.

2. In 1987—22 years ago— he was convicted of robbery of an inhabited dwelling. He got 6 years of which he served not quite 3 years, released in 1990. However he cycled back in three more times between March 1991 and April 1992, for what appear to be parole violations. Each time he spent 2-4 months locked up, suggesting that whatever it was, it was not minor. Although I cannot tell for sure.

If there are violent crimes, I have not yet seen them in his records.
But we do not yet know everything.

Posted in crime and punishment, Gangs, LAPD | 63 Comments »

The Death of Lily Burk: What We Know – UPDATED

July 27th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon


Here’s what we know about the death of 17-year-old Lily Burk.

This terrible thing happened within a comparatively short period of time and started with no hint of anything dangerous when Lily went to run an errand for her mother in the middle of the afternoon.

She left her parents home in Los Feliz around 2:30 p.m. and drove to Southwestern School of Law that is located on Wilshire Blvd. just east of Vermont. She was going to pick up some papers that her mom, lawyer and law school prof Deborah Drooz, needed from the school. She arrived at the law school at about 2:45.
At around 3 p.m., on her way back to her car, Lily encountered a 50-year old man named Charlie Samuel near to the school. Somehow Samuel allegedly persuaded/ threatened/forced Lily back into her own car and the two drove into downtown Los Angeles where Lily tried more than once to get money out of various ATMs with her credit card, presumably to give to her abductor.

It does not appear, according to police, that Lily’s kidnapper was armed with a gun or a knife.

But he had some kind of sharp weapon.

During that same time period, she called her parents twice to ask how to withdraw funds from an ATM with a credit card (as opposed to an ATM card)—one call to her mother, Deborah, one to her father, music journalist, Greg Burk.

Greg told Lily that she couldn’t use a credit card to get money from an ATM. They arranged that Lily would drive home to get the money from from her dad. It appears Lily kept her head and was acting strategically. But she did not make it home.

Sometime in the next two hours Lily Burk struggled for her life and died in her car. The exact cause of death has not been released, but we do know there was blunt force trauma.

UPDATE: And we now know that her throat was slashed.

Sometime within that same two hours
Samuel allegedly drove Lily’s black Volvo to 458 S. Alameda Street, where he abandoned the car with this lovely, smart, funny, talented girl’s body inside in the passenger seat.

He walked less than a mile away where he began to drink. A little after 5 p.m., two Metropolitan Division, mounted division officers, Miguel Dominguez and Gary Copeland, were patrolling downtown when they spotted Samuel drinking in public. They detained him and found a crack pipe in his possession. (Samuel is on parole, thus subject to search at any time.) At around 5:30 p.m., Samuel was arrested for Possession of Narcotics Paraphernalia, which would have been a violation of the terms of his parole at the very least. (Samuel was downtown to take part in a court-mandated drug treatment program that was a condition of an earlier conviction.) The mounted police had no way of knowing that their drunk would soon be accused of having caused the death of a promising young woman and ruining a string of lives in the process.

[Zach Behrens at LAist has constructed a Google map showing the locations. I don't know why this seems important, but it does. For those of us who sometimes must report grief-producing stories, drowning ourselves in details is a productive way of coping. ]

When Lily never came home, her parents, Greg Burk and Deborah Drooz, realized that something was terribly wrong. Too much time had passed after those odd calls. Lily was not the type of kid who would have just left her parents waiting and wondering. At around 7 p.m., they called the LAPD and reported their daughter to be missing. The case landed at the department’s Northeast division missing persons and sex crimes desk.

In the meantime, Greg and Deborah did everything they could think to do to find their daughter. They called Lily’s cell phone carrier to find out where exactly she had been when she made those two calls and found that they had been made east of the law school. They also called the bank to find out about the withdrawal attempts. Greg and Deborah gave all this information to the Northeast officers.

Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz, the commanding officer for Central Bureau of the LAPD, which includes Northeast, said that, from the beginning the case was treated seriously. Lily was not considered a runaway. Northeast detectives searched all night but found nothing, he said.

Everything changed at 6:15 on Saturday morning. That is when an employee of a downtown business saw a woman’s body in a parked car and called 911. The dead woman turned out to be young, a teenager. It was Lily Burk.

Central division homicide was quickly called in. The lead detective on the case was Robert Nelson.

The Central detectives—a group that eventually would quickly grow to six detectives, and some additional uniformed officers—- caught one small break because Samuels was stupid. Or maybe he just panicked, or was too high to think rationally, or alternately was too desperate for a fix to cover his tracks very thoroughly. In any case, police found fresh fingerprints on the driver’s side of the car that were not those of a young woman. On Sunday morning, he discovered that the prints matched a man who was already in custody.

However prints alone are not enough for a case. For the next nearly 48 hours detectives worked in the field getting what they hoped would be the rest of the evidence needed for a solid prosecution.

At 9 p.m. Sunday night, Samuel was officially arrested for Lily’s murder. According to the sheriff’s department inmate information site, he was booked at 11:27 that same night.

A law enforcement source told the LA Times that Samuel had a “previous history of assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and kidnapping.”

Although the arrest was made Sunday night, Central homicide detectives had not yet gone home when officers came into the station for the 6:15 a.m. shift change on Monday morning, a Central officer told me.

The official announcement of the arrest was made around 7. After that Detective Nelson, Detective Thayer Lake, and their core crew went to breakfast.

The department held a press conference at 11 a.m on Monday.

“This case strikes close to home for all of us with children,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Sergio Diaz when he was in front of the press microphones. “This is really a parent’s worst nightmare.”

Yes. It does. I have already talked to my own 23-year-old son twice today because I had the irrational need to hear his voice.

I know that Chief Diaz was speaking—not just in the professional abstract, but personally. He has two kids of his own on whom he completely dotes. Two smart and talented and beautiful daughters.

Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell, who was also at the press conference, has a daughter too. She is 17.

Just like Lily Burk.

Posted in criminal justice, LAPD | 36 Comments »

The Death of Lily Burk…Arrest Made – UPDATED

July 27th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon


UPDATE 7:a.m: The LAPD has arrested 50-year-old Charlie Samuel who is being held without bail.

There will be a press conference this morning at 11 a.m. The actual arrest was made by two Metro mounted officers although the lead detectives out of Central are the ones who have been going without sleep and working this case without stopping. I don’t believe they went home last night.

This whole tragic affair is about a botched robbery.

Richard Winton at the LA Times reports that Lily Burk was abducted near to the campus of Southwestern University School of Law on Wilshire Blvd, just east of Vermont, where she had gone to pick up some papers for her mother, who teaches at the law school.

More after the press conference.

1:30 A.M.

OKAY HERE’S WHAT I KNOW: The official word from the LAPD is that an arrest is “imminent” in the murder of 17-year-old Lily Burk. Unofficially, however, a couple of the officers with whom I’ve been talking tonight have dropped several large hints that the police have already picked up their suspect but that he (and someone did say “he”) has not yet been booked.

This is not confirmed. But logic suggests that the person in question is presently in the company of the LAPD. I am writing this post at about 1:30 a.m., and am told that there will be word this morning.

In the meantime, police have said that Lily was randomly targeted, and that she did not know the person who attacked her.

I do know also know from my talks with Central division that the detectives have been concentrating their investigation in the neighborhoods nearby to the division, not elsewhere, which likely means the Skid Row area or thereabout.

An arrest will not bring this beautiful, smart, wonderful girl back, nor will it take away even the smallest bit of the unimaginable grief felt by her parents right now.

But if an arrest is indeed made, we will all still be glad for it.


NOTE ONE: There are many other issues and stories to talk about. I will get to some of them later today. Some late tonight. For now, I’m staying on this story.
NOTE TWO: Because Greg Burk, Lily Burk’s father, is a writer (He worked for years at the LA Weekly), and because Lily was a student at Oakwood, a school that tends to draw creative types, Lily Burk’s friends (and her parents’ friends and her friends’ parents) tend to be, as a group, very articulate. As a consequence, there are a a lot of people around the web expressing their anguish with painful clarity.

Nancy Rommelman is one. ….Another is the former 60 Minutes producer who blogs at The Heathen. Still another is my friend, Nick Goldberg, the LA Times Deputy Editorial Pages Editor, who has been acting the family’s spokesman.

And then there are Lily’s friends, many of whom have written heartbreaking notes on the web page that has been set up on Facebook in her memory.

Posted in crime and punishment, LAPD | 14 Comments »

Lily Burk UPDATE: The Police

July 26th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

In light of the concern that some have expressed
—here and elsewhere—about how aggressively the LAPD is pursuing the case of 17-year-old Lily Burk, who was found dead inside her black Volvo around 6:30 a.m. Saturday near Alameda and Fourth streets. Her death, as all of you must know by now, has been ruled a homicide.

The answer to the question about the police is: very aggressively. I know this from backdoor sources as well as those at the front door.

Specifically, as of right now there are six detectives working this case virtually full time, plus a bunch of uniformed officers.

The case is being coordinated out of Central Division, because Lily Burk was found in the Skid Row area. But I am told that Northeast is also providing help.

“This is one of those cases that pulls at your heart strings no matter who you are,” Central’s watch commander, Sergent Andy Mathes. told me tonight, his voice stressed and grim.

Yes. It does.

More in a while.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Big Wave Weekend

July 26th, 2009 by Celeste Fremon

For those of you wishing to focus on a topic
other than the still frightening state budget and…what I posted below…here are the photos I took Saturday afternoon at Topanga State Beach during the big surf that had crowds of surfers and surf watchers jamming the coast.

The music is “La Mer” played by Django Reinhardt
, Stéphane Grappelli & The Quintet of the Hot Club of France


(PS: The lacerating news about Lily Burk, and the fact that my own kid is somewhere on some rock face or other on or around Mount Whitney and Mount Russell, and I will likely not hear from him until tonight, has sent me into a nerve-calming spate of YouTube video-making. Since this is my 2nd in 24 hours [The first one was for my Bennington friends.] I now have the uneasy feeling that this video-making thingy is the 2009 version of macramé. But at least when I finish a video I am not tempted to ask anyone to hang it on their wall. And I won’t be giving it to you for your birthday holding a sad-looking pothos plant. So be thankful for small favors.)

UPDATE: Just heard from Mr. Kid who is off both mountains. Whew!

Posted in Life in general | 6 Comments »

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