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  Getting Out of Town During Campaign Season
October 17, 2010

It’s particularly nice to get out of Richmond for a few days during the final nasty weeks of our local campaign season.

We flew down to LA yesterday to participate in an awards ceremony. It was the first time we had been to Santa Monica and Venice in 37 years where we lived for two years when I was in graduate school at UCLA. Out of curiosity, we went by the two places we had lived to see if they had changed. The little garden apartment building where we were in 1971-72 in Santa Monica, just a block off Palisades Park and two blocks north of Wilshire hadn’t changed a bit.

Then we drove a couple of miles down to Venice were we lived a half block from the beach in 1972-73. We had always heard that Venice had gone upscale and had become gentrified, but we were shocked to see that the area where we lived had really gone downhill. It looked like a third world country. Frankly, that’s about what most of Los Angeles looks like. We were glad to get back to northern California.

Last night the entire Civic Center project team was in Malibu at the Getty Villa to receive a 2010 award from the California Preservation Foundation for the Civic Center Rehabilitation. Steve Duran and I represented the City of Richmond to receive this prestigious award.

Earlier in the week, Shirley and I returned from a week in Arkansas and Texas. The Arkansas trip was to perform a little maintenance on our Ozark retreat we call “Deepwood,” which we rent out as a lodging for visitors to the University of Arkansas. Below you will see me practicing my stone masonry skills. There is a lot of wildlife in Arkansas, and this time of year you find  lot of three-toed box turtles crossing roads. Andrew and Harlan are having a turtle lesson, below. We also picked up the caterpillar of what we thought was a Luna moth, about 4 inches long.


Then on to San Antonio for a couple of days for my semi-annual ASTM meeting. San Antonio’s River Walk is one of great urban places in the world, and it keeps getting better. River Walk started out as a flood control project in the 1930s, but a visionary architect turned it into an attraction that defines San Antonio and attracts visitors by the millions. Any City with a waterfront could do the same. Are you listening, Richmond?


it’s nice to be back in Richmond!