Conan Neutron Voting Guide – Nov. 2016 – General Election

Vote 2016
Image result for vote
PRESIDENT
Hillary Clinton
SENATE
US Senate: Kamala Harris
CONGRESS
 US House, District 13: Barbara Lee
US House, District 17: No Endorsement (Honda v. Khanna)
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE
State Senate, District 9: Nancy Skinner
State Senate, District 11: Jane Kim
State Assembly, District 18: No endorsement (Rob Bonta)
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
Office No. 1: Scott Jackson
AC TRANSIT DIRECTOR, AT LARGE
Chris Peeples
AC TRANSIT DISTRICT DIRECTOR, WARD 2
Greg Harper
EAST BAY REGIONAL DISTRICT DIRECTOR, WARD 2
Audree Jones-Taylor
BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 1: Gail Murray
District 3: Rebecca Saltzman
Distrct 5: John McPartland
District 7: Lateefah Simon
CITY COUNCIL
At -Large- Rebecca Kaplan RCV
CITY ATTORNEY
Barbara Parker (Unopposed)
SCHOOL BOARD:
District 1: Don Macleay
PROPOSITIONS
STATE
51: No – School Construction & Repair Bond
52: Yes – Medi-Cal Matching Fees
53: HELL NO – Require Even More Bonds on the Ballot
54: Yes – Publish Bills 72 Hours Before a Vote
55: No – Extension of Income Tax on the 1%
56: Yes – Tax E-cigs & tax Cigarettes more.
57: HELL YES- Progressive Parole Reform
58: Yes – Allow Multilingual Education in Public Schools
59: Yes – Citizens United Sucks
60: HELL NO – Moralizing Crusade to Require Condoms in Adult Films
61: YES  – Prescription Drug Pricing Change
62: HELL YES – Repeal the Death Penalty
63: Yes – Gavin Newsom’s Vanity Gun Control Prop
64: HELL YES!!! – Marijuana Legalization
65: No – Redirect Money from the Disposable Bag Fee
66: HELL NO!!!! – Kill people faster with the Death Penalty
67: Yes – Protect the Plastic Bag Ban
LOCAL
Alameda County:
A1: Yes – Affordable Housing
City of Alameda:
B1: Yes – Extend Parcel tax for Schools
AC Transit:
C1: Yes – Mass Transit is cool
City of Oakland
G1: Yes – School District Parcel Tax
HH: Yes – Soda Tax
II: Yes – Maximum Lease time of city-owned real properties
JJ: YES!!! – Renter’s rights, and just cause, approval to raise rents.
KK: Yes – Pedestrian Infrastructure Bond
LL: YES!!!! –  charter amendment for citizen oversight of police department
BART
RR: Yes – More mass transit, uneasy
EXPLAIN YOURSELF!!!!
Vote 2016
PRESIDENT
Hillary Clinton
I’m so ready for this to be over, I truly am.
Look: I sucked it up and voted for Kerry / Edwards in 2004 and the third party choices were better that year and the Democratic Candidate weaker. Yet i’m still gnashing teeth because the primary and what Bernie built… look, you get it.
I don’t like Jill Stein, the anti-vaxx stuff is blown out of proportion (she really questions the FDAs role in it and approval, it’s a sane stance), but she is just annoying. She was in an annoying folk group, she plays those annoying hippie drums. She’s annoying! Like most of the things I dislike about the Green Party in one candidate, she’s ivory tower progressive personified, and the best thing about this cycle is that it’s made a Green Party candidate actually speak out on foreign policy beyond “don’t wage war”. As for Gary Johnson… come on… he has not fared well in this era of greater scrutiny. Enough said. Even Bill Weld knows what time it is.
So here I am, advocating for Hillary freaking Clinton. Yeah, I know.
Here’s why: we need to strike a blow for critical thinking, we need to strike a blow against what these years of Tea Party style over-represented white rage represent. It sucks that the champion has to be her, i’m sorry I’ve been listening to the arguments for her for years, I just don’t buy it. I yearn to be proven wrong.
I don’t know if Clinton deserves to win, but Drumpf and the Republicans *DEFINITELY* deserve to lose.
The one thing I LOVE about her is that she’s a ruthless tactician that won’t expect camaraderie and bipartisanship, she will treat it like the blood sport it is and give them the lack of mercy that they have earned. That, I look forward to, it’s been earned.
So that pisses off all of my Green and Libertarian friends, now let me irritate all of the Democratic party regulars and the beltway types I know.
Votes are earned, period.
If you don’t live in a swing state, vote for whoever you want and don’t let anybody guilt you otherwise. . Votes are earned, not transferred.
Don’t listen. IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN A SWING STATE.
If you do. Well, I’m going to ask you to suck it up.
I do think that an election where Clinton wins the electoral college and Drumpf wins the popular vote would be one of the worst possible scenarios I can envision, but don’t let anybody harangue you into voting for somebody you don’t want to. Me? I feel like we need to strike a blow for critical thinking, and insanely that means voting FOR Hillary Clinton.
She doesn’t need to be your favorite, she doesn’t need to be your ideal. You just have to realize that she is the bulwark against this heinous anti-intellectualism, sexist, racist, classist bullshit that we have going on. It’s not enough for that crap to lose, it needs to lose big.
That’s what this election cycle has done, the tire fire needs to go out. Drumpf’s supporters will not go away when he loses, neither will Drumpf… but we need a reset. Look: at this point i’m sure you made up your mind long ago, let’s just get this over with, ok?
She’ll probably be fine, let’s give her the benefit of the doubt and make sure we keep the progressive pressure on, ok?
SENATE
US Senate: Kamala Harris
Everytime I endorse Kamala Harris, I’m a little less enthusiastic about it. She’s so careful, so painfully preparing for the next step up. It’s really annoying. She’s by far the better candidate of the two Democrats. Sanchez would be acceptable in a purple state or red state… but for me she’s a little too nutty. I also wish it was Feinstein retiring instead of Boxer, but hey… we’re at, where we are at. I’m sure Harris will be a fine Senator that will situate herself nicely for whatever her next thing is.
Oh yeah, here’s what I said in June when these two faced off in the primaries:
“What’d I say last time?:
“An attorney general who is against the Death Penalty. Yes! Still pisses me off she has taken little action against the Federal stomping on the Marijuana trade, but she is a dece AG. I wish she would take a stronger stance against the death penalty and for legalization of the weed. But, she has her eyes on bigger things. That’s fine. She’ll be good at that too.”Yeah, that’ll do. If she gets the Senate seat expect to hear a lot from Kamala Harris for years to come.

I think it’s fantastic that in a sea of white men in the Senate, California has regularly had two ladies representing us. Too bad one of them is Feinstein. Heh.

Kamala is easily the best of a huge field, Loretta Sanchez would be a great candidate for like: Arizona or something. Not California. I think it’s just fine that some of the rowdier parts of the left are all worked up about Harris. The one thing that gives me pause is the Eastbay cell phone surveillance plan she supported. That sucks.
At least there’s no Schwarzenegger this time.”
CONGRESS
US House, District 13: Barbara Lee
How great that one of the most awesome and brave progressive voices is my congressperson. She’s great. Someday she will retire, and that day will be sad… until then!
US House, District 17: No Endorsement (Honda v. Khanna)
Honda has some serious ethics issues, Khanna is totally the candidate of new tech. That’s the way the district is going. I’m glad I don’t live in this district and have to make a choice.
CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE
State Senate, District 9: Nancy Skinner
I endorsed Nancy in June:
“I like Sandre Swanson, I’ve just never seen him do that much. It’s by a nose. Practically a coin flip with these two.
I hear a lot of talk about how Nancy Skinner both is and could BE a big Democratic leader though, and that’s what we need.
So i’m willing to take the plunge on this.
As an aside: I hate how people just switch around jobs with these statehouse roles. Annoying.”
State Senate, District 11: Jane Kim
Jane rules, look it up. She’s the real deal.
State Assembly, District 18: No endorsement (Rob Bonta)
I don’t like Bonta, i’ve gone on and on about it. I just think he’s boring, he’s a “loyal Democrat” for whatever that means. BAH!
SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE
Office No. 1: Scott Jackson
Barbara Thomas is a vocal and active critic of rent control, I saw and talked to Scott Jackson at a Bernie Sanders rally.
Jackson.
AC TRANSIT DIRECTOR, AT LARGE
Chris Peeples
Seems to get how utterly boned AC Transit’s finances are.
AC TRANSIT DISTRICT DIRECTOR, WARD 2
Greg Harper
Same.
EAST BAY REGIONAL DISTRICT DIRECTOR, WARD 2
Audree Jones-Taylor
BART BOARD OF DIRECTORS
District 1: Gail Murray
Her opponent Debora Allen has all the wrong ideas and takes money from anti-labor Senators.
District 3: Rebecca Saltzman
Great on the environment and seems to actually listen about racial justice and police accountability.
Distrct 5: John McPartland
I don’t like the guy, but his opponent is worst, another big time anti-labor zealot.
District 7: Lateefah Simon
Easily the best choice of this bunch, focus on making BART affordable, hold the police accountable and pretty darn good on labor issues.
CITY COUNCIL
At -Large- Rebecca Kaplan RCV
This one pisses me off, because Rebecca Kaplan is easily one of the best public servants I know, and just because she isn’t a rubber stamp for St. Libby and her tech agenda she has a well funded candidate in the likes of Peggy Moore trying to come after her seat. I still think she would have made  better mayor than Quan OR Schaff. Rebecca is always around to protect renters, to make sure the police aren’t running rampant and to generally be a force of extreme good. She does incredible work on a regular basis and doesn’t just do whatever the mayor wants. People (like the East Bay Times) get bummed out about her political ambitions. That’s foolish. She thinks big picture, and we’d be lucky to have her in any role.
Peggy Moore might very well be a great elected official at some point, but not this cycle and not this election. Kaplan not only doesn’t deserve to be fired, we NEED HER in there.
It’s RCV so you can also vote for Moore or Bruce Quan if you really want, but I left the other two spots blank in progress. Rebecca is the only one I want in there.
CITY ATTORNEY
Barbara Parker (Unopposed)
Well, that makes it easy doesn’t it?
SCHOOL BOARD:
District 1: Don Macleay
One of the most thoughtful and forward thinking guys i’ve ever met that run for public office. I met Don when I worked for Rebecca Kaplan’s mayoral run, he ran against her. He is honorable, has good ideas and is just downright great guy. The school board would be *LUCKY* to have somebody like Don Macleay on there and he deserves serious consideration and your vote if you live in this district.
This is the only school board election i’m weighing in on.
PROPOSITIONS
STATE
51: No – School Construction & Repair Bond
This one hurts, because we need it and we need it bad. However, it is costly and lacks protections to ensure that it will go to where it is truly needed. Construction companies will make out nicely, schools won’t. I’m with Jerry Brown on this. NOPE.
52: Yes – Medi-Cal Matching Fees
Use Federal dollars to pay for Med-Cal. That’s it. Seriously. It’s wonky and not-controversial. Vote Yes.
Easy.
53: HELL NO – Require Even More Bonds on the Ballot
COME. ON. Let me make this real simple, do you think there aren’t enough things to vote on in this election and every election? If that is the case, have I got the proposition for you. Look: to be a voter in California you have to do more research than a first year State Senate aide anyway, but this poorly constructed measure is going to make it even worse. This is nonsense. Not just no, but HELL NO.
54: Yes – Publish Bills 72 Hours Before a Vote
An excellent modernized good government procedure, it’ll dissuade the legislature from gutting bills at the last minute and let people know what these congress critters are up to. I mean, for Pete’s sake, with the amount of stuff we vote on every election i’m not sure what we are paying these people for anyway. Transparency sounds ok by me, there’s a lot of action that can be taken in 72 hours these days.
55: No – Extension of Income Tax on the 1%
Whaaaaa? What do you mean “NO”. As a good liberal aren’t I always supposed to support taxing the 1%. Well yes, but this was sold as a TEMPORARY tax for four years. Yeah, it’s still a problem… but people voted for it for that four year period. Here is what I wrote four years ago:
” Raises income taxes on top 2% for schools and vital services, quarter cent sales tax.
We love not paying for things in California! Schools are boned right now, I mean really boned. Sales tax is regressive, which I don’t care for. And I think the top 2% spend a lot of money NOT paying their taxes for the most part. But what the hell dude? State is broke. Sure could use those billions Enron defrauded California for ten years ago now, eh? Raise it. ¼ cent over 4 years is worth it.
That’s the key, worth it. And four years we have had this tax. It was sold to us as that time period though. A temporary tax, I love what it goes for but it is disingenuous to talk about it as “not raising taxes any more then they already are.” that is taking advantage of people’s short memories and the absolutely brutal amount of things we need to vote on every year. It also ties into a serious frame that right wingers have about taxation and the progressive left, that it isn’t tactical it’s punitive.
Maybe you disagree. The schools STILL need it and we still love to not pay for things.
I voted against it though.
56: Yes – Tax E-cigs & tax Cigarettes more.
Sin taxes bum me out. But kids are vaping, and lots of them. Teen smoking is WAY up.
I also personally find all tobacco usage deplorable and hateful.
Your mileage may vary. I know my vote was cancelled out in our household.
57: HELL YES- Progressive Parole Reform
Sensible criminal justice reform. This provides motivation for nonviolent offenders to better themselves. The scaremongers out there focus exclusively on the lack of clarity for who qualifies, but the fact remains that the “tough on crime” crowd went way, way, way too far. And why? Prisons make money. Period. This doesn’t just put criminals on the streets, it allows those that have worked to rehabilitate themselves and have shown good behavior to go before the parole board and have a chance at life. In 2011 the Supreme Court said that California prison conditions constituted cruel and unusual punishment. It’s a cold heart, or somebody letting themselves be ruled by fear that votes against this.
58: Yes – Allow Multilingual Education in Public Schools
ok, back in 1998 there was a really weird kind of xenophobix, proto-Trumpster propr that prohibited non-English languages from being used in public schools. The “speak English or die” crowd doesn’t want to admit that bilingual classrooms WORK. This prop allows educators and officials to make the choice of how they want to proceed with their methods. It should pass.
59: Yes – Citizens United Sucks
Absolutely non-binding and symbolic. But it does suck, sure! Let’s send a message about it… I guess.
60: HELL NO – Moralizing Crusade to Require Condoms in Adult Films
This is a big, fat HELL NO! So bad. Porn “actors” are already required to be tested for STDs every 14 days. The system works.
Again, I don’t even care about Porn, but making a state funded office that gets to be a porn magnate to approve who is and is not “doing it right.” that sounds like something out of a Parks and Recreation episode.
61: YES  – Prescription Drug Pricing Change
End price gouging by big pharma.
Man, look at who is against this, it’s a Murderer’s row of people like Martin Shkreli. Yeah, there are some unknowns here, but the orgy of profit that the pharmaceutical industry has been engaging in has to end. We have to send a message. Stand with me and Bernie Sanders and vote yes on this one.
62: HELL YES – Repeal the Death Penalty
The Government should not be in the business of killing people. Period. Full stop.
The only way you can rationalize the Death Penalty is if you think the justice system has never gotten it wrong. That has been proven untrue again, and again.
Life without possibility of parole is another big moral issue, but we need to step up and join other civilized societies and stop killing people.
63: Yes – Gavin Newsom’s Gun Control Prop
This really doesn’t do all that much, but allow Newsom to take credit for some other legislation that kind of does the same thing. I’m not even sure if this kind of gun control is the answer, but fuck’s sake… we have to do something. So, YES.
64: HELL YES!!! – Marijuana Legalization
Listen, the time has come. There are a lot of selfish and dumb arguments against it floating around. All almost exclusively by people who serve to profit from the way things are.
This isn’t how you do progress. FIRST you end prohibition, THEN you can amend the law to be what you want.
Anything else is utterly short sighted and selfish.
And saying you should let the legislature craft it? What a cop out! Why don’t you just stand over there and wait for Godot.
This is one of the best examples I can think of for the horribly flawed and frequently terrible direct democracy process and we are blowing it AGAIN.
This one is way better than the one we voted down, and i’m still hearing the same tired arguments against it.
Yeah, there will be some big box style folks competing, I wish there were anti-trust provisions.
Legalize it, tax it. Be on the right side of history.
END PROHIBITION AND REFORM THE LAW, THAT IS HOW GROWN UPS DO IT.
65: No – Redirect Money from the Disposable Bag Fee
No, this prop is a stalking horse.
66: HELL NO!!!! – Kill people faster with the Death Penalty
Insane, do you think we don’t kill people fast enough? Well! this is your proposition.
NO!
67: Yes – Protect the Plastic Bag Ban
Plastic bags suck. They are awful. Uphold the ban.
LOCAL
Alameda County:
A1: Yes – Affordable Housing
Property taxes will go up for this, but it makes affordable housing. I’ve never seen an affordable housing crisis like what is happening here. This will make it harder on home owners, but it needs to happen.
City of Alameda:
B1: Yes – Extend Parcel tax for Schools
Reauth a parcel tax that already exists.
A no vote means schools lose $12 million. It sucks that we have to fund the schools this way, but for this one we press on.
AC Transit:
C1: Yes – Mass Transit is cool
We need to invest in mass transit, we need to get more cars off the road where we can.
Again, with the parcel taxes… I feel bad for homeowners, but if you own property in the bay right now, you shouldn’t be in that bad of a spot.
City of Oakland
G1: Yes – School District Parcel Tax
There is literally no argument against this one. Yes.
HH: Yes – Soda Tax
I hate that this election has made me radicalized about something I DON’T CARE ABOUT. I don’t drink soft drinks. I haven’t in almost 20 years. We have been inundated with ads and mailers about the “grocery tax.”. NO! It’s a tax on soft drinks. Berkeley did it and it’s been a huge success. Yes, it’s regressive, but the campaign against it is so obnoxious that anybody even remotely contrarian would want to vote for it on general principle. I truly don’t care, but I want them to lose.
II: Yes – Maximum Lease time of city-owned real properties
Change city owned lease time from 66 years to 99 years. IT assists developers of affordable housing to more easily get the money they need to get the projects done. We need it. There is literally no argument against it.
JJ: YES!!! – Renter’s rights, and just cause, approval to raise rents.
This one is wonky, but worthwhile. Landlords need approval before raising rents more than COLA allowed in the city. Right now, Oakland has some of the weakest rent control in the bay and it shows. I know a lot of people personally that have been forced out because the rent keeps going up thanks to the dot com influx. Heck! If our rent was raised, we would have to leave. This is very necessary. An absolute YES!
KK: Yes – Pedestrian Infrastructure Bond
Sure.
LL: YES!!!! – charter amendment for citizen oversight of police department
OMG YES! Look: it’s been scandal after scandal with the OPD. They managed to go from being a sympathetic overworked agency, to seeming like something out of the Shield. I mean, the prostitution stuff? Three Police Chiefs in a week? Preposterous. Oakland always has it’s negatives amplified and it’s positives downplayed, but in this case it’s dead on. Citizen oversight NOW. Clean out the rot. ’nuff said.
BART
RR: Yes – More mass transit, uneasy
Yeah, I wrote uneasy there, because it makes me uneasy. $3.5 billion is a lot of money and frankly, I think the BART board can be kind of snakey. They the worst parts of a for profit entity and the worst parts of government. I totally get anybody wanting to vote no on it, and it was darn close to a coin flip for me. That said: public transit is important, so I said: Vote yes.

Shiny Grey Monotone Interview with Conan

Conan answered some questions from Shiny Grey Monotone.

Here it is: Secret Friends are discussed, as well as Replicator, Mount Vicious, Victory and Associates all with candor and honesty.
Dale Crover, David Yow, Industrial guest appearances Radio NOPE and damn near everything else.

Also includes a weighty “awesome band” list is that would be a worthy homework assignment for any discerning rocker. I can already think of at least a half dozen bands I forgot to include. Damn!

Here it is.

conan neutron.
you may recognize the name.
and even if you don’t you’ll still find yourself saying “that’s a pretty kick-ass name. why couldn’t my parents name me conan neutron. i hate my parents!” and then running into your room and slamming the door behind you and then cranking up the stereo. and this is the point where’d you’d forgotten that you hadn’t taken out that BEST OF ABBA cd and now everyone knows your dirty little secret.

moving on.

and before all of this begins i need to clear something up: conan is in no way shape or form related to jimmy. don’t bring it up.  the last time that happened it wasn’t so nice. you may have heard about it on the news.

also: never mention that pointer sisters song either. just don’t.

moving on.

some of you may have heard of some bands with names like:
replicator
mount vicious
victory and associates

you may have even seen them around here on SGM island.
and if you haven’t you’ve just been voted off.

nowadays he’s fronting/playing guitar in a band with some of his secret friends.
and no i’m not going to tell you who they are.
that’s his job.

Q: seeing as how you and your secret friends league have just been brought up…tell us all about that.

A: Sure, this is like my weirdo rock version of the Avengers, or something. Every player is a superstar totally capable of badass acts of heroism and power on their own, but coming together for a greater purpose. I suppose that would make me Captain America. I guess Tony Ash is Iron Man and Dale Crover is the Hulk? Wait, no Thor. Toshi Kasai is… uh… Nick Fury?
Wait… this is dumb.
Another way to look at it, is this is my version of the the Bad Seeds or something. The players sometimes change and cycle in, but the basic core remains the same and the songs come from me originally before being twisted, contorted and shaped into whatever dark forces come together at the end. It’s my version of rock ‘n roll. And that includes a world where Melvins, Bon Scott era AC/DC, DEVO, Unwound, The Jesus Lizard and Thin Lizzy all should be lauded equally. You get me? It’s rock, but with the no bullshit or excuses attitude that can only come from people that live and breathe punk rock/noise rock or whatever the hell you want to call it.
From my standpoint, it’s a little bit of every band I’ve ever been in, and a little bit something entirely different, I’m writing the kind of music I’d like to hear and trying to use all of the lessons I’ve learned over the years to make that a really cool thing. I’m surrounded by great and brilliant people and one of the best rhythm sections a guitarist could hope for. Pretty cool.

Q: dale crover. does he still like to stand around the water cooler and wait for folks to walk by so he can tell some of his grunge stories?

A: oh, constantly! He’s always like: “Man, this one time Tad and I pants-ed Krist Noviselic and he…” and we’re like: “OK! COOL DUDE, WE GET IT.”
No, in all seriousness Dale is one of the sweetest dudes in the world, and all of us have tour stories or crazy back in the day stories. It just so happens that some of his involve people that are incredibly, incredibly famous. It’s easy to forget because he’s such a nice fella.
Although he is always shouting: “ok boys, I really want you to GRUNGE OUT on this next one.”
Don’t know what all that is about.

Q: and seeing as how the secret friends are somewhat embedded into the melvins mythos…could there be a possible tour or collaboration of some sort?

A:Well, as far as collaboration. Buzz does backups on two of the songs on Art of the Murder, so that’s sort of already happened… it’s just under my banner so far fewer people paid attention. HAHAHAHA. That said, even with Dale playing drums for me it’s important to note that Melvins are one of my favorite bands of all time. It’s not lost on me, you know? There’s been talk. So far, that’s been it. That said, I think the two acts would compliment each other in interesting ways. Not just for the obvious shared member either.
Who knows? If it did, I would consider myself very lucky indeed to be even further involved in their world. They are the real deal as artists and humans and work harder than any band I can think of. I respect the hell out of their art , their fearlessness and their process, bands could learn a lot from how the Melvins work.

Q: now let’s travel back a bit. when i mention the name replicator what kind of feelings does it invoke? you were together for 8 years. what brought all of that to an end?

A: Great feelings! I loved that band and loved my time in it. We did everything exactly the way we wanted to do it and did a bunch of weird stuff that some people seemed to enjoy. It was completely on our terms and ended when it should have, cool. It meant something to some people, and I’m pretty sure we left the world a wee but better than how it was when that band came into being, or at least more confused.
I still love Ben and Chris and we played a one off for the PRF BBQ West Coast year before last that was a damn fine time and probably employed a good amount of bay area baby sitters.
What brought it to an end? It was time for it to end. That’s it. No drama. We broke up with plenty of advance notice and recorded an ep of our last songs that is one of the better things we did. Not a bad way to call it a day, right?
The weirdest thing is probably talking to young people in new noise rock bands who think that what you are currently playing is somehow the only thing you ever have, or ever will do. Nope. Settled that land, moved on. Still enjoy visiting and looking at the postcards though.

Q: and during your time together you’d played a show as the jesus lizard and you went by the name of the jesus replicator. what kind of training did you go through in order to become david yow? how far into did you go? how long did it take for you to shake all of that off afterward? are you still in the shower trying to wash it away?

A:If you are trying to ask if I learned how to do a Tight ‘n’ shiny, I did not. In all seriousness though, I think Mr. Yow is not only a very gifted vocalist, but a hell of a front man. Some people seem to get it wrong, thinking that his presence is confrontation and violence, there’s just a strange ebb and flow to the energy between him and the crowd. He’s a masterful performer and full of genuinely thrilling unexpectedness. I once saw him sing an entire song from the inside of a t-shirt box at the Merch table. It was an inspiring moment for me.
That isn’t a joke.

Q: and then i’d seen that you took on the yow again at the 2010 PRF BBQ auktoberfest. there’s footage of you on the youtubes performing “puss” with a band called the hype. and i have to say that if someone were to close their eyes and place you and david yow under cups and shuffled you around you’d never be able to tell who was who.

A:ha! Yes! The Hype… a superstar PRF Karaoke band. Full of members that are in plenty of great bands themselves. Frighteningly accurate. In a better world they’d be the house band for a late night talk show. Maybe hosted by Mark Arm of Mudhoney or Eugene Robinson of Oxbow or something.
Anyway, thanks… it’s a hell of a song. I remembered all the words from that Halloween thing. I thought that was a pretty hilarious move to do a song by Chicago royalty when I’m an Oaklander/California boy through and through.
OH! Something that isn’t on youtube, but I was reminded of… in Replicator, we played with Qui some, both before and after David Yow joined the band. We actually asked him to play Wheelchair Epidemic with us one night. That was cool.
I think that exhausts the David Yow part of the interview.
Oh wait! He’s a great visual artist and did the art for the first Secret Friends record
“the enemy of everyone” too.
SEE? IT ALL COMES BACK TO ME AND MY MUSIC IN THE END. RECORDS STILL FOR SALE AT THE MERCHT TABLE!

Q: and that brings us to mount vicious. the band had 3 guitar players. which of you was the eddie van halen of the group?

A: Ha! I’d say… Alli for sure. IF, and only IF… Eddie Van Halen was played by Rowland S. Howard of the Birthday Party.

Q: the mount vicious bio reveals that mount vicious deliver a powerful live show and are very good at sex. was that in fact true?

A:Yes.

Q: the band didn’t seem to have been together all that long. what happened? did one of you finally get to the point of not being very good at the sex and just wanted to stop?

A:No, we were still all very skillful at it. We had a song called “We Enjoy Fucking (To This Music)” for Pete’s sake. We did more in a year than some bands do in their whole life. That also includes bitter, acrimonious break-ups.  It was my fault, but it was a good run. We made a good record. I learned, licked my wounds and moved on.

Q: i’ve always thought that victory and associates would’ve made the best name for a law firm. had you ever toyed around with maybe making some sort of a promo for the band in the form of one of those infomercials you only seem to see on the tv at 3:00am? because i would’ve totally watched that while sitting there with my bowl of cereal and nuQuil.

A: Only if we could flash our number really quick with a very long and disconcerting amount of disclaimers played as fast as possible afterwards.

Q: what brought about the demise of the victory and associates?

A: The other three dudes were wanting to work more collaboratively, writing more in the practice room. I wanted the exact opposite, to work more off of demos and concentrate on arrangements when we in the same room. Musical differences! HOW THRILLING!
Plus, people just get tired of people you know? Everybody parted as friends, brothers, etc. That’s the stuff that counts, that and the body of work.
Band breaks up, Ultimately not a lot of people cared. Replicator was important to a lot of people, Mount Vicious was starting to be when we called it a day. For the most part V and A just grinded, we never connected that deeply with most people. I don’t know, we liked it! V and A wasn’t really hard rock, post-punk, punk rock, noise rock or any of that. It was a little bit of all of that and totally it’s own thing. It was important to me that it exist as it’s own entity without relying on previous bands. Worked out great! Hahaha.
It’s tough to be a band that doesn’t have a gimmick, hook or schtick these days. You aren’t just competing for people’s attention with what came out that week, you are competing with all of music. That band was all heart and probably deserved better, but the world will keep on a spinnin’ none the less.
I do think Better Luck Next Life is a way better record than most people give it credit for. But damn, if that was the metric… that’s like: most of music.

Q: did i read somewhere that you’d been involved in something called “bitch stole my time machine”? and were you involved with a “band” called caustic?

A: True on both counts! Jesus, nice digging there Columbo. “Bitch Stole My Time Machine” is a song by the excellent Industrial band Everything Goes Cold, who I toured with a few times as a keyboard player and backup vocalist. It’s not really my genre, but they are very good at it and the shows were a blast. Lots of crazy lighting and smoke machine and chicks in bondage gear and what not. I met Matt Fanale (AKA: Caustic) on one of those jaunts and we bonded immediately over old school Touch and Go stuff. All the stuff you would expect. We became pals and he asked if I would contribute a guitar track to a song on his album “the Man Who Wouldn’t Quit.” He wanted it to be somewhere between Wax Trax and T&G when both of those labels were doing legit aggro and heavy stuff. I said: “You bet!” and I gave him a guitar track that sounds like the things he asked for, with maybe a little Andy Gill thrown in.
It’s a fun track! I played it with him once, and was wearing a feather boa on stage. True story.
Oh! “Bitch Stole my Time Machine.” I played Thingamagoop on that, which is a cute little light activated oscilatting synth that looks like a robot. It makes excellent obnoxious noises. It’s very chaotic in a good way. I think it’s the only thing by EGC that I’m on that’s recorded. That band is really Eric’s baby though.
Man, that’s a whole lot of time I just spent talking about other people’s crap. ERIC! MATT! Where’s my check?!?

Q: besides the musician thing…what else do you have going on in the neutriverse? also: feel free to use that.

A: The “musician thing”. Oh, you mean the thing I devote my life to? hahahaha. Well, my radio show/podcast “Conan Neutron’s Protonic Reversal” is entering year 3, I think? Every time I’m about ready to quit it, I get some really nice feedback about some episode or another. So I’m going to continue to do those, talking to people that everybody SHOULD care about and what it means to be an artist and do what they do. Playing new and old tunes I love, that kind of stuff.
There are worse ways to spend time.
I launched a 24/7/365 radio station called Radio NOPE early last year that has achieved the purpose of being my favorite station ever! (that’s http://www.radionope.com kids!), there’s currently no ability for profit of course, but I kind of consider it a public service. Hey! Maybe there should be a SGM show on it? (hint, hint!)

Q: another PRFBBQ has come and gone. tell us about that business.

A:Which one? Oakland? Chicago? Louisville? Hahaha, they are all excellent. So many amazing bands, so many great people. I don’t know, anybody reading this is like the total target demo for these things. It’s just all badassery and your new favorite bands.
New discoveries for me this year were:
West Coast – The Tunnel, an already really great band totally stepping it up by mixing some serious Big Black into their late period Birthday Party. Impressive stuff! Also Quivers, who have kind of a Chavez plus Archers of Loaf thing going on.
Chicago-Rented Rooms who kind of slayed my mind, the songs of the dude from the Mekons Jon Langford… who I’ve never paid much attention to.
Louisville- Vibrolas, just really good down and dirty rock and roll, Multicult… kickass NYC noiserock, Them Teeth and War Brides. Great NR bands.

Q: are there any stories that you’d like to regale us with?

A: I’ve met Andrew Dice Clay in person, he’s a remarkably intelligent and soft spoken dude who asks a lot of questions about YOU. Well, not you… me. I guess. No, he did not tell any limericks.
We played Krist Noviselic’s signature Gibson Ripper on both the first two Secret Friends records, by that I mean it was the one Gibson actually gave to him and he later gave to Toshi and the Melvins for the studio. That’s a damn fine instrument there.

Q: so. music. i’m going to assume that you like it. are there any bands out there that you’d like to lay some lip service to?

A: Hurry Up Shotgun (Oakland, CA), B. Hamilton (Oakland, CA),  Porch (Oakland, CA),  Reptoid (Oakland, CA), Oxbow (San Francisco, CA) The Cell Phones (Chicago, IL) Nocturnal Habits (Justin from Unwound with Sara from Unwound on drums), Vibrolas (Lexington, KY), Motherfucker (Athens, GA), Lardo (Chicago, IL), the rutabega (South Bend, IN), Dead Halos (Louisville, KY), Trophy Wives (Louisville, KY), Waxeater (Louisville, KY), John Congleton and the Nighty Nite, SAVAK (Brooklyn, NY), Melvins (duh!), Whores (Atlanta, GA), Multicult (NYC), Manhandle (Alabama or some crap!), Nonagon (Chicago, IL), Buildings (Minneapolis, MN), Magpies (Missoula, MT), SEMINARS (Seattle, WA), Beat Drun Juel (Chicago, IL), THE HAND (Minneapolis, MN), Thoughts Detecting Machines (Bloomington, IL), Minutes and OUT (Those are two different bands, Kalamazoo, MI) Future of the Left (Cardiff) and Falco solo as Christian Fitness are both way legit. Oh! Quivers (San Francisco, CA) I’m sure I’m forgetting something really obvious, but that’s a pretty damn good listening list.
Just go Ask Jeeves all that stuff and you’ll be listening to new stuff before ya know it.
Anybody that says there isn’t any good new music needs to pull their head out of their ass.

Q: and now we’ve come to the part of the show where if’n you have any science you’d like to drop on the folks…..

A: Look! Just because my last name is Neutron doesn’t mean I’m a REAL scientist. That’s just a CHARACTER… Hahaha! Just joking kids, stay in school.

well,mr. neutron. i’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for stopping in for this interview. it was fun. now please exit the building before security has to be called. and don’t forget to stop by the front desk and take a complimentary anything you’d like out of the lost and found.


The Colossus of Destiny: A Melvins Tale – Review

There has never been a band quite like the Melvins. Frequently misunderstood, always underestimated and relentless in their pursuit of both challenging and delighting a die hard audience that shifts, changes, and expands almost as much as the music itself. A documentary on them and their 30+ full-length albums over 30 years seems like somewhere between a fool’s errand and a scientific impossibility.

Yet the Colossus of Destiny has managed to pull this off, and so much more. Existing as one of the most compelling documentaries in recent years with a misleading aura of effortlessness. Subtitled “A Melvins Tale”, the impish, gleefully mischievous hint that a raconteur with questionable motives might captivate you, telling you this story by a fire only adds to allure. Spinning a rock and roll story of a band that somehow managed to never quit and has never sucked.

A fantastical creature to be sure!

The Colossus of Destiny: A Melvins Tale

The Colossus of Destiny: A Melvins Tale

The tired Behind the Music or Spinal Tap tropes cannot be found in the Melvins Tale. There are no band psychologists, there are no Desmond Childe penned arena ballads. There is no period of execrable lost in the wilderness genre jumping. There is no time for such weakness of spirit.

The Colossus shows that the Melvins are a mighty machine that rolls forward and does not give a whit for your perceptions of what they are or what they should be. Cranking out album after album that continues to surprise and innovate and still never sound quite the same. They never follow a script or formula and always push for the next weird and awesome thing.

Whether it’s showing up in the movie Juno as a casual reference, or as background music in a bar in the best episode of the first season of True detective. There is a cultural saturation that is both undeniable and well deserved. The Melvins are an American band and exist with or without your approval or interest.

The Colossus of Destiny manages to show this through the words of the people not just involved, but around Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover, band mates, label heads, luminaries influenced by their work and yes, Krist Novoselic and Gene Simmons. There are no periods skipped past or glossed over, no punches pulled, the tale is told in a relatively linear matter that includes the inauspicious beginnings right up to the now.

An excellently balanced mix of live footage, interviews and other fascinating nuggets shows you an entry way into the world of Mr. Osborne and Mr. Crover that is damn enlightening. Embodying the least odious parts of the KISS philosophy, which is a unabashed, unabiding love and respect for their fans and for anybody else that comes along along with a gleeful punk rock spirit to do whatever they want at that time despite orthodoxy or trend. The world of the Melvins is laid bare to the viewer in a unique and fascinating way.

Major moments in the bands history are represented including: 51 states in 51 days with Melvins Lite, an iteration of the band with Standup Bass (!) and a much smaller footprint, cracking a Guinness book of records milestone previously held by George Thorogood. However, some of my favorite parts of the film are just quick and candid moments with Buzz and Dale. Short quips that are often funny as hell and very self-aware but speak volumes in their brevity.

Several key figures choosing not to participate in the film is disappointing, but their absence does not hurt the film or the story. At a running time of almost two hours, there could easily be a Part Two and you still couldn’t get the entire story. I can only imagine the decisions on what to leave out to be brutal and heartbreaking. A problem most band documentaries absolutely do not have.

Named from a fantastic, uncompromising and influential John Fante book, it really is the perfect title, The Colossus of Destiny.

What more can I say? This movie, created by two first time filmmakers Bob Hannam and Ryan Sutherby over the course of years is not only a labor of love, it’s essential viewing for those that live the life of rock ‘n roll or are just fascinating at the steadfast endurance of true artists carving together an incredible niche for themselves and continuing as always to press forward.

Watching this film in a theatre full of like-minded travellers and rock ‘n roll warriors was a very special and unique experience for me. Fair warning: for the less hard hearted of you, might find that the theater you are watching in has a bit of dust that might get in your eye.

*In the interests of full disclosure, I do play music with Dale Crover in Secret Friends. However, I come to this as a lifelong fan from the age of 14, with an excitement that can only be borne of seeing one of your favorite bands story unfold in an incredible way.


Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends – the Art of Murder

Hello, I put out another record. This is another Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends album.
I play guitar and do vocals.
Tony Ash plays bass.
Dale Crover plays drums.

Toshi Kasai produces and engineers.

I like it, perhaps you will too.
The whole thing is a concept record about and around the world of Hannibal Lecter.

Notes:

This record was written and mostly arranged leisurely between November 7th, 2014 and March 7th 2015 by Conan Neutron. Tracks were given final arrangements and recorded at Sound of Sirens studio in Sun Valley, CA between May14th-18th, 2015 by Toshi Kasai. Mixing was done at Sound of Sirens between June 12th- July 28th. 2015 by Toshi Kasai.

Mastering was done at Chicago Mastering Company by Bob Weston: September 2015

Art and layout by Rick Froberg

This record was directly inspired by the Hannibal Lecter series of books by Thomas Harris. Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal and the fascinating interpersonal dynamics between the characters within. As well as some of the other associated material around the characters of said stories. Certain phrases are cited in the lyrical content and are done so with the utmost respect and admiration.

Thanks to Lindsey Neutron, Stephanie Vogt, Jordan Sobolew, Michael Marchant, Erica Strout, Lindsey Charles, Kevin Burkett and the Electrical Guitar Company and to all of the rest of the Friends of the Neutron out there. Secret, explicit or otherwise.

www.neutronfriends.com

All songs © Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike 3.0 unported (CC BY-NC-SA3.0)
creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/
credits
released March 1, 2016

Engineering/Production: Toshi Kasai
Vocals/Guitar: Conan Neutron
Bass: Tony Ash
Drums: Dale Crover
Additional Synth/Organ and Strings: Conan Neutron
Additional Vocals on Avid Fan and Chair of Antlers: Buzz Osborne
Additional Vocals on Eat the Rude and Chair of Antlers: Tony Ash
Additional Harmony Vocals on Quid Pro Quo and The Doctor Will See You Now: Dana Poblete
Additional Percussion and Vocals: Toshi Kasai
Additional Percussion: Dale Crover


Neutron Voting Guide – June 2016 1

It’s that time again, at *LAST* it’s California’s turn to vote.
So let’s get right down to it, shall we? My choices. With explanations below.

Do it… it’s important. Especially for the Presidential Ticket this year (amazingly!)
govote

PresidentBernie Sanders
US SenateKamala Harris
US House of Representatives, District 13Barbara Lee
California State Senate District 9Nancy Skinner
California State Assembly District 18Write-in
Alameda County Superior Court, Judge Office 1Scott Jackson
Alameda County Superior Court, Judge Office 2Jennifer Madden
Alameda County Superior Court, Judge Office 14Margaret Fujioka
Alameda Board of Education, 3rd Trustee AreaRandy Reynaldo Menjivar

Prop 50: YES
Measure AA: No

Alameda County Democratic Party, Central Committee, Assembly District 18:
1. Randy Reynaldo Menjivar
2. Guillermo D. Elenes
3. Pamela Drake
4. Marlon Mcwilson
5. Diana Prola
6. Peggy Moore
7. Pamela Price
8. Margarita Lacabe
9. Mike Katz-Lacabe
10. Corina Lopez

President – Bernie Sanders
My MAN. Never has a Presidential candidate in my lifetime been so close to my actual political belief system. MOST DEFINITELY never has one that matched so closely gotten so far.

Robert Reich said something really smart:

Hillary Clinton, he says, is the best possible president for running the system we have. But Sanders, he argues, is the only presidential candidate actually trying to change the system we have into the system we deserve.

Perfect! Look: I’ve been a fan of this dude back from when he was just the mayor of Burlington, VT. Into the House and then into the Senate. I really never expected him to run for President, I didn’t think he would be into the hassle of it. However, one of the first things I thought of when I heard he was running was: “Hunh, he could win.” Senator Sanders has legitimately started a movement, and has made it so that California. One of the VERY LAST states to vote actually matters. All of this running against one of the best funded and most powerful non-incumbents in Presidential History.

He’s smart, he’s effective, he brooks no Tom Foolery and he’s managed to make people excited about good progressive policy with populist roots. In any other election he WOULD be the story, as we all know, he is just *A* story in this election.

Listen: I’ve gone on and on about Bernie Sanders and all the reasons to love him. I think most people have picked a side on this contest long ago and are ready to get onto defeating the heinous menace of Donald Drumpf no matter the outcome. However, we still get to vote, and for that i’m grateful. It feels amazing to be able to vote *FOR* something, and I hope he not only wins, but wins BIG. Showing that politics as usual just won’t cut it in the Democratic Party anymore.
Thank you Bernie Sanders for running, for giving people like me something to vote FOR and for perhaps starting an incredible new phase in the Democratic Party.

US Senate – Kamala Harris
What’d I say last time?:
“An attorney general who is against the Death Penalty. Yes! Still pisses me off she has taken little action against the Federal stomping on the Marijuana trade, but she is a dece AG. I wish she would take a stronger stance against the death penalty and for legalization of the weed. But, she has her eyes on bigger things. That’s fine. She’ll be good at that too.”

Yeah, that’ll do. If she gets the Senate seat expect to hear a lot from Kamala Harris for years to come.

I think it’s fantastic that in a sea of white men in the Senate, California has regularly had two ladies representing us. Too bad one of them is Feinstein. Heh.

Kamala is easily the best of a huge field, Loretta Sanchez would be a great candidate for like: Arizona or something. Not California. I think it’s just fine that some of the rowdier parts of the left are all worked up about Harris. The one thing that gives me pause is the Eastbay cell phone surveillance plan she supported. That sucks.

Remember, our weird ass rules has the top two vote getters going against each other. So it’s entirely possible we might be voting for two Democrats in the general too. If it isn’t Kamala vs. Loretta in the general, i’d genuinely be shocked.
Weird!

At least there’s no Schwarzenegger this time.

US House of Representatives – Barbara Lee
One of my favorite Representatives in all of the House. She’s awesome. Easy choice, i’ve voted for her many times, glad to do so again.

California State Senate District 9 – Nancy Skinner, I guess? O
I like Sandre Swanson, I’ve just never seen him do that much. It’s by a nose. Practically a coin flip with these two.
I hear a lot of talk about how Nancy Skinner both is and could BE a big Democratic leader though, and that’s what we need.
So i’m willing to take the plunge on this.

As an aside: I hate how people just switch around jobs with these statehouse roles. Annoying.

California State Assembly District 18 – Write-In
I don’t like Rob Bonta, I think he is exactly the kind of person we don’t need in the state legislature. He doesn’t ever seem to actually do anything, but he seems nice enough and he sticks around long enough that you remember the name.

Here’s what I wrote last time:
“I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know a damn thing about this Rob Bonta character. At least what he’s done in his current role. I’m sure he’s managed to collect his salary. I forget who I advocated for when he ran. This dude is my assemblyman though… and I barely know he is, and I pay attention to this stuff.

Ugh, the assembly can be important. Why do we have a dude in there who I immediately forget exists when I’m done typing about him? All I know about his opponent is that he’s an electrician that likes dams, and he knows he is doomed to lose. Great. Democracy in action. Vote for this dude or don’t… I don’t know. I can’t advocate either way.”

Haven’t really turned around my opinion then. I wrote in W. Kamau Bell because I think his show United Shades of America is incredible and i’m pretty sure he lives in the district.

Alameda County Superior Court, Judge Office 1 – Scott Jackson
Lim has the endorsements, that’s for sure.
I love that every candidate for judge says: “it is important for the judiciary to reflect the people which it serves.”
Every one, seriously.
It’s like being for kittens and puppies.
oh well, bay area problems.

How about this? David Lim is a sitting city council person in San Mateo. You know, not in Alameda County? I mean it isn’t against the rules, but does that strike you as something you’d be for?

Barbara Thomas did some pro-bono work for Prisoner’s rights and was a single mom that put two kids through college, but she’s also a very vocal and active critic of rent control in Alameda. So how do you think that’ll work if one of those cases come by?

Gotta go with Scott Jackson. Also: I saw him at the Bernie Sanders rally.

Alameda County Superior Court, Judge Office 2 – Jennifer Madden
Human trafficking prosecutor is a branding mechanism, not a job title. It’s annoying and political. Jonathan Van Ee is a public interests attorney and wants to bring the court up to date with modern technology, but doesn’t have any criminal experience.
So, I’m going to give the nod to Madden on this one, even if “Human Trafficking Prosecutor” is a seriously annoying and political.
It’s with reservations though.

Alameda County Superior Court, Judge Office 14 – Margaret Fujioka
She’s from Piedmont, AKA: Richie Rich-ville. In fact she was the mayor of Richie Rich-ville. That said, she’s a lady and not white. It’s nice to have a judiciary that reflects the population, isn’t it?

nobody else running, so that’s pretty easy.

Alameda Board of Education, Trustee Area 3 – Randy Reynaldo Menjivar
Alright, so… neither is bad. Ken Berrick is the incumbent, Randy Reynaldo Menjivar wants to shake things up and restore student services. Education is a mess in Alameda county, and while I do have my doubts that he can do everything he wants to, I don’t really see the current leadership doing that great of a job. Ken Berrick seems fine, i’m going with the Grad Student.

Central Committee, Assembly District 18 — Democratic Party (VOTE FOR 10)
Democratic Party Officials.
God damn, this is probably one of the most important pieces on the whole ballot and it’s a fight to get anybody to give a fuck about it. Myself inclusive. Perhaps that’s because i’ve wandered in and out of the Alameda County Democratic party over the years.
What do these people do? Basically: endorse candidates. The goal is to keep this thing clear of petty despots and fevered egos. Also for me, people that support establishment candidates that think everything is just fine. I’ve seen at least three mailers advocating for the currently sitting members, which is common. If anything, this election has proved that we need some new blood though.

Here’s who I got:
1. Randy Reynaldo Menjivar – I just talked about him, young cat, new blood
2. Guillermo D. Elenes – Renters rights activist
3. Pamela Drake – Wellstone Democratic club, Sanders Supporter, blogger
4. Marlon Mcwilson – Alameda County Board of Education member and west oakland resident
5. Diana Prola – Retired teacher, Sanders supporter
6. Peggy Moore – only Clinton supporter i’m putting on here. She was California Political Director for Obama in 2008 and 2012, good people.
7. Pamela Price – civil rights attorney

Maybes (but I put them down on mine)
8. Margarita Lacabe-Sanders supporter – Strident and outspoken, a little TOO MUCH some times, but very progressive.
9. Mike Katz-Lacabe-Sanders Supporter- Privacy Rights activist re: Surveillance and such, he isn’t for it. Kind of one-note but ok.

I got 9. I wrote in my 10th, because that’s how I roll! And 10 is a lot of people.

Most importantly: Here are who I have for hard NOs:
Mario Juarez – NO, dude is a realtor. Enough said.
Howard Egerman – NO , union dude… but haughty, no to Neal, rude to Bryon Parker
Jim Oddie – NO, Hillary Clinton supporter and Rob Bonta’s District Director, Hillary Clinton Delegate
Robin Torello – NO (Hillary Clinton DELEGATE), she’s the current chair of the ACDCC, which gives us lovely candidates like Rob Bonta who accomplish nothing

Probably no: Malcolm Uno (Environmental Justice Organizer) – put up by the standing establishment. slate, can’t find enough info about him.

Proposition 50: Suspending Legislators. YES.
This is the kind of stuff I love! This Proposition is on the ballot solely so that the
It allows state legislators to suspend their colleagues with or without pay with or without pay with a 2/3 vote. This is because of three state Senators who were in hot water 2014. Two of them were indicted, and are now facing various corruption charges. A third was convicted of perjury and voter fraud! (you know the straw man that so many right wingers rattle on about?) for lying about whether he lived inside his state Senate district or not.

But since there was nothing in place for this kind of thing, all three of them continued to get paid by the state! Hahaha! Isn’t that amazing?
Looking forward to watching this one win in a landslide, I’d love it if there were only three votes against it and they were all Leland Yee. HAHAHA!

Measure AA: Preserve the wetlands, parcel tax NO
What?!?!?! NO!?
Yeah man, the wetlands are very, very important and this addresses some seriously big issues, but it’s the wrong way to do it.

like the Guardian said:
“The tax would be levied and administered by the San Francisco Bay Authority, a public agency created by the California Legislature. The Authority is governed by a five-member board of appointees who are chosen by yet another appointee, the president of the Association of Bay Area Governments, which is itself on the verge of a hostile takeover by an autocratic state agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.”

Did you follow that? No? Ok, well let’s put it this way: Good luck trying to find anybody accountable for what the hell happens with this money. I’m not against Regional government, but fuckin’ A. We’re the bay area, we have *SO MUCH* Government already, most of which barely do enough to warrant their own pay. Nah, dude… vote no.
We need to deal with this, but not this way.


not on my ballot, but on my mind:
Ro Khanna – 17th District, US House of Representatives ethics. Ro Khanna, even though he is way too TECH for my liking, Honda has been INDICTED!
Len Raphael – Central Committee, Assembly District 15, Great dude. Plucky
Don Macleay – OUSD, District 1, the BEST dude. He would be great in this role.
Jesse Townley – Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board City, Jesse is great. He works at Alternative Tentacles. He’s a rocker. More punk rockers in politics please.

SF
Jane Kim = State Senate, D 11, SF
Prop C – YES!

Otherwise refer to the League of Pissed Off Voters or the SF Bay Guardian, as per normal this down ballot crap almost ended me.


Last thoughts for 2015

When it comes time for hindsight, i’ve noticed some people tend to dwell on the bummer times, loss, tragedy, what didn’t happen or failed to achieve the desired results.

It’s all part of the tapestry of life, but i’m going to focus on the things that made 2015 great for me and mine. No tags, no links.

-Released “the Enemy of Everyone” by Conan Neutron and the Secret Friends. The first record with songs I wrote and arranged myself. Recorded with a killer new band I put together full of badass players and people. Some people seemed to like it, which is always nice. I dedicated the whole thing to my passed on ex-best friend Clay. RIP you crazy bastard.

-Attended PRF Thundersnow 2015 and had a great time in the Upper peninsula seeing badass bands at a offseason resort hotel on a frozen lake (third year running!)

-Launched Radio NOPE a 24/7/365 streaming internet station/podcast network and bringing together many friends and likeminded shows as well as developing brand new ones.

-Broke my streaming radio show/podcast (Protonic Reversal) away from the community station it started at and moved it to said station. Somehow, after some growing pains, managing to have to the show be better than ever and helping move it along to where it should be. I think 2016 will be a great year for the show.

-Finished writing and arranging the second Secret Friends record.

-Recorded the second Secret Friends record with, again the same badass players and people. It turned out really good. Soon, Soon.

-Threw the second PRF BBQ West in Oakland, hosting many amazing bands from both locally and far away, including the mighty Survival Knife!

-Survival Knife played through the backline, which was all of my music gear (sans drums). (gearnerd alert, and Unwound is one of the reasons I play music)

-Played a cool one-off set from my long defunct noise rock band Replicator at said PRF West event.

-Attended and played PRF BBQ 2015 Chicago with a super fun Secret Friends set.

-Hosted Mr. Brett Eugene Ralph at our place in Oakland for a series of good times, laughs and stories that I never wanted to end.

-Visited Louisville, Kentucky for the first time longer than a gas stop/stop for bandmates to get cigarettes. Attended and played the first PRFBBQ Louisville with the Secret Friends.

-Visited Oahu and the Big Island of Hawaii on a more or less proper human vacation and got to do many, many adventurous things, hiking, snorkeling, etc. including fulfilling my lifelong dream of seeing a live, active volcano up close and hiking the entire 7 mile non-active crater of mighty Kilauea.

-Saw a bunch of fantastic shows Shellac, the Ex, Melvins, Mountain Goats, Flipper w/David Yow, Torche, Melt Banana, John Reis & the Blind Shake. Marc Maron’s comedy live. Many more as well.

-Did a remarkable amount of work stuff that really would only be of interest to other people in the engineering sector I work in, but that were huge strides forward, palpably beneficial and sometimes kind of inventive. It would not be inaccurate to say that some of the work I did helped save some lives, and it certainly helped enrich some.

-Met some really amazing people and strengthened a few loose acquaintances into strong friendships.

-Did my rock solid best to try to make the world a little less crappy in as many ways as I could. (usually small)


Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends – The Enemy of Everyone

I made a record with Dale Crover on drums, here it is.

Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends – The Enemy of Everyone
The Enemy of Everyone
bandcamp link
http://www.neutronfriends.com/

This record was written and mostly arranged between June 22nd and September 7th 2014 by Conan Neutron. Tracks were recorded at Sound of Sirens studio in Sun Valley, CA between September 11th-15th, 2014 by Toshi Kasai. Vocals for Fight Math were done at Antisleep audio, Oakland, CA by Mr. Eugene Robinson on October 8th, 2014. Those were tracked by Mr. Scott Evans. Mixing was done at Sound of Sirens between October 10th-15th. 2014 by Toshi Kasai.

Mastering was done at Golden Mastering between Jan 27th and Feb 3rd, 2015 by JJ Golden.

Art by David Yow (www.getfaced.net)

Dedicated to the memory of Clay Wofford. R.I.P. (1977-2014)


Don’t forget Protonic Reversal my rock radio show/podcast.

I never update this site… but it is worth noting that I do a show on RadioNOPE called Protonic Reversal that airs at 5am to 7pm every week on Thursdays.

PROTONIC_REVERSAL_2015_002_1400PX

At the time of this writing is the #1 song on the station.

Pretty cool. You can find Protonic Reversal archives on the site and here specifically for listen/downloads. Protonic Reversal archives.

It is a great place to hear awesome new music, have a few laughs and hear interviews with exciting musical guests. If that sounds like your kind of thing… well you should consider checking it out live every thursday or listening to the Podcast. If you listen to it in podcast form, please also consider uprating it in the itunes store as ratings are how people discover new shows. Itunes makes this incredibly difficult… but it is always appreciated. Thank you.


Neutron Voting Guide – November 2014

Well now! The time has come, the time has come once again to choose mostly between diminished expectations and hard choices and impending evil. It must be… yup… Election season. Time to lock myself in the office with a healthy dose of righteous indignation and drop some science.

So let’s get right down to it boppers. Please remember, that I know that of which I speak… but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good decision.

Cliff’s notes, then the full deal:

Oakland Mayor –  first because it is most important: It’s ranked choice so in this order:

1) Kaplan

2) Seigel

3) Schaaf

NOT QUAN!!

Oakland, District 2:

1) Abel Guillen

2) Nonsense

3) Not Dana King

City Auditor:

1) Len Raphael

2) Nonsense

3) Brenda Roberts

STATE 

Governor – Jerry Brown

Lt. Governor – Gavin Newsom

Secretary of State – Alex Padilla

Controller – Betty Yee

Treasurer – John Chiang

Attorney General – Kamala Harris

Insurance Commissioner – Dave Jones

Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tom Torlakson

Board of Equalization, District 2, -LEAVE IT BLANK!

13th Congressional district – Barbara Lee

18th Assembly District – None!

 Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate district, Division 1 – Jim Humes

 Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal 1st Appellate District, Division 2 – J. Anthony Kline

1st Appellate district, Division 3 – Stuart Pollak

 County Superintendent of Schools – Helen Foster

 Proposition 1 – Water Bond – YES

Proposition 2 – stabilize the budget – YES

Proposition 45 – Health care insurance cost control – YES

Proposition 46 – Drug Test Doctors  – NO

Proposition 47 – Reform sentencing – YES

Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming – YES

Measure J in SF – Minimum Wage Hike – YES, YES, YES!

Measure D in Berkeley – Soda Tax – YES

 

 Governor – Jerry Brown

I was having this conversation with a conservative coworker the other day, I said something along the lines of: “If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would not only be endorsing Jerry Brown for Governor, but ENTHUSIASTICALLY doing so, I would call you a liar.”. But here I am, doing it again.

He’s good. He’s really, really good. He’s not the best, but he is good. Prisons and fraking he ain’t right on, but man does the guy get disaster leadership.

It’s jarring since we’ve been run by noodniks, maniacs and incompetents for years.. What is there to say? The guy proved me wrong. I like being proven wrong when I’m being cynical.

 

Neel Kashkari is a jackass

Lt. Governor – Gavin Newsom

I’m much more leery of the Smiler. But the man can speak, oh yes… oh yes. He’s also right on drug policy reform, despite being a Richie Rich. History has proven the bro VERY correct on gay marriage and good on him for it. He is a very handsome “waiting in the wings” dude.  Not my favorite guy, but he’s ok.

Secretary of State – Alex Padilla

I advocated for Cressman in the primary, because the dude was into electoral reform. But I’ve got nothing against Padilla. He’s just fine. He’s for the voting rights act, and will be good in the role. And if I can’t have Debra Bowen again, I guess he’ll do.

Controller, Betty Yee

She turned down contributions from tobacco and fought for equity between same sex couples. The controller watches the money. You could do much, much worse. I full expect her opponent Ashley to get some misguided votes because her last name is Swearengin, like one of the best characters in TV, the dude from Deadwood. Trust me you aren’t voting for Al Swearengin.

Treasurer, John Chiang

He was a good controller, he’ll be a good treasurer. Dude is good on fiscal stability.

Attorney General, Kamala Harris

An attorney general who is against the Death Penalty. Yes! Still pisses me off she has taken little action against the Federal stomping on the Marijuana trade, but she is a dece AG. I wish she would take a stronger stance against the death penalty and for legalization of the weed. But, she has her eyes on bigger things. That’s fine. She’ll be good at that too.

Insurance Commissioner, Dave Jones

Smart dude, was on Uber and Lyft and others before most were. Solid progressive who has good sense about the ACA.

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson

Yeah, Torlakson is good. He’s a former teacher. Always nice to have somebody that has been in the role in the big boss job.

Board of Equalization, District 2, -LEAVE IT BLANK!

Fiona Ma sucks. Flat out, not explanation needed.

Leave this blank or write in Mickey Mouse or something. Do you really want some dope trying to ban raves in this office you barely understand?

No! you do not.

She sucks, her opponent sucks. Top 2 screwed us here… leave it blank.

13th Congressional district – Barbara Lee

One of my favorite congress people in the whole wide delegation. We are damn lucky.

18th Assembly District – None!

I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t know a damn thing about this Rob Bonta character. At least what he’s done in his current role. I’m sure he’s managed to collect his salary. I forget who I advocated for when he ran. This dude is my assemblyman though… and I barely know he is, and I pay attention to this stuff.

Ugh, the assembly can be important. Why do we have a dude in there who I immediately forget exists when I’m done typing about him? All I know about his opponent is that he’s an electrician that likes dams, and he knows he is doomed to lose. Great.  Democracy in action. Vote for this dude or don’t… I don’t know. I can’t advocate either way.

I’m going to be honest with you, I’d rather give myself a good, hard punch in the dick than go through all of the data that you have to do to speak authoritatively about these damn judges. It’s what keeps this thing from coming out in early October…

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court – Mariano-Florentino Cuellar

Dude just got appointed in August, who knows what he’s going to be up to… but let’s see..

Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate district, Division 1 – Jim Humes

First openly gay justice on the California court of appeals. Do I need to say more?

I’m not super into identity politics or anything, but yeah…

Presiding Justice, Court of Appeal – 1st Appellate District, Division 2 –  J. Anthony Kline

1st Appellate district, Division 3 – Stuart Pollak

1st Appellate district, Division 4

just one dude running unopposed, so…. No vote. G

 1st Appellate district, Division 5

no endorsement.

County Superintendent of Schools – Helen Foster

Either of them are fine. Man, these are the worst to write about… you do the research and you really can’t find yourself giving a damn much way or the other.

Perlata Community College District Trustee, Area 5

I couldn’t give a damn about this if I tried… and I did.

I left it blank. Both are pretty wordy. Beats me.

Oakland Mayor – It’s ranked choice so in this order:

Kaplan

Seigel

Schaaf

Flat out: Rebecca Kaplan is the best, brightest and most vibrant politician that this city has seen. She’s whip smart, a huge advocate for smart growth and a transit activist.  I believed in her enough to work for her campaign last time, and that belief has NOT changed at all. A whole bunch of things that Quan was given credit for were indeed great ideas. And I liked them better when they came from Kaplan. Point of fact: she’s an smart, pragmatic politician who can build coalitions. She’s also into hiring locally for the Police, which is super smart and is zeroed in on unemployment. Also very smart.

It breaks my heart to admit it, but it has not been a very good campaign this time. She’s somehow been defined by concern trolls and the line of attack seems to be that she’s lazy? Insanity. Absolute insanity.  The trash talk all offered by political enemies are all being repeated as truth? Uh. Ok.

Allegations that she doesn’t get anything done is completely absurd. Again: point to some of the better things Quan has done and you can trace them back to Kaplan. While you cannot trace the idoicy (like police layoffs).

Look: Oakland you got it wrong last time, because we were all worried about Don Perata. Let’s not dick this up again. I hate to use: “trust me” as a justification…. But you really should just trust me on this.

Dan Seigel:

He’s a fine progressive, a civil rights attorney who has fought for poor people in the face of massive tech displacement and has a long track record of social justice. I like the dude. He’s right on a lot of stuff, he isn’t focused on the housing shortage though. With all of the influx of people being priced out of SF that is a pretty damn big deal.

And a distant, DISTANT third:

Libby Schaaf.

I just don’t think that councilmember Schaaf is that awesome.  She’s right on some issues and just worries me on others. The Express opines about her good government reforms, but it’s all seems very pandering to me.  Maybe it is that she worked for De La Fuente…

As for the other contenders:

Joe Tuman is a fine candidate, but would not make a good mayor. He has a few ok policies, but he would not make for a good mayor.  Sorry Joe, feel free to give me the evil eye in your bike outfit when I see you next at Peet’s, but I didn’t think you were a good candidate 4 years ago and I don’t think you are a good candidate now. No matter how long you were on the news.

Bryan Parker seems fine.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD ANY RIGHT THINKING INDIVIDUAL VOTE FOR MAYOR QUAN. How on earth this is even being considered by anybody is utterly beyond me, I can speak from personal experience when I say she is arrogant, entitled, and just terrible at the job. The Eastbay Express actually mentioned her before Kaplan which surprised the living hell out of me, but they are flat out wrong. She is exactly as awful as she has been portrayed and should be NOBODY’s first , second or third choice. Do not reward mediocrity. Do not do it.

Oakland has survived in SPITE of her, not because of her. Do not forget Occupy Oakland, do not forget Chief Batts.

Seriously if you willingly vote for Quan at this point… I’m not sure I want to know you. I’ve never voted for once, and I don’t intend to start. She is terrible. If she somehow manages to win… I don’t know man. I think that’s the last nail in the coffin for me living here.

District 2: Abel Guillen.

I should care about this race, I really should. It is my district… but I don’t care.  A couple times people jokingly suggested I should run. Some suggested it and weren’t kidding. I thought about it. An open seat would have been my chance, and we need more people that come from punk rock in office. Where punk rock = critical thinking. I could have run, and I would have probably done ok. What would I be giving up… touring? Big deal. Hell: I’ve lived in the district for 9 years and I already work in a city hall (just not my town’s), to say nothing of intimate knowledge of public safety.  I’m more qualified then most, and I know how to listen. But no, I didn’t.  It’s casual arrogance to think that because you pay attention to politics, you’d be good at it.  I can’t talk trash about Tuman and turn around and be a hypocrite myself just because we have a different base and mine has more tattoos and piercings (and a better record collection!).

Anyway, Abel… Abel is smart. He’ll do just great.  Game recognize game. Vote for Guillen. Cool.

Just Don’t vote for Dana King, she was on the news… I get it. Doesn’t make her qualified for council.

I went Guillen, nonsense, Park.. but it could have just as easily been Blackburn.

City Auditor: Len Raphael

Dysfunction is not acceptable. Dude is plucky, I like plucky. Vote Raphael. Brenda Roberts changed registration and is angling for the nice salary ($140K a yr).

Do you know what the city auditor does? Probably not. I do. It’s who makes sure the city’s money is spent properly. Anyway, I’m on some dumpy e-mail list with this guy, and while he does prattle on… he’s the best kind of dude you want in this kind of role. I’m for the guy.

 

Second choice: nonsense

Third Choice: Brenda Roberts

 AC Transit Director at Large

I don’t like any of ‘em.

I voted for Ryan Christopher Parks. God help us all.

Bart Director, District 4:  Robert Raburn

Man does a good job.

Ask me at a bar about BART and my long history with them sometime, I’ll let you know.

Straight up, although… I love seeing Larry Lionel Young Jr. Running. “vote LL and Oakland will be well.”  Make that dude the assemblyman, he’d get stuff done and look good doing it.

One of my favorite people from my time “on the inside” of mayoral politics. Him and Don Macleay for very different reasons.

 

Measures:

N-afterschool programs – YES

Oh, how I hate how everything that is decent is funded by damn parcel taxes. But our state is insane with it’s anti-tax rules.  Maybe if we legalized and taxed marijuana we would have some income to kick around… hmm?!?! Back on point: This helps kids for college prep, it’s damn worthwhile. Yes, some would go to charter schools, not all charter schools are the devil. Do it.

Z- Continue Measure Y public safety bill

I voted yes, but it is with the thinnest support possible. I could get more into it… but I won’t. I’m a soft Yes on it.

BB- BART to Livermore – NO

Dude, what? This adds more sales tax, and we already have so much. BART to Livermore would rule… but there’s already the half cent transportation tax that is in place until 2022. I know I should like this… I don’t.  yeah, yeah… it does all kinds of neat stuff. Try again.

Good Government pair

CC – Yes

Give the Oakland Public Ethics commission the money it needs to do it’s job

DD- Yes

Council and school district lines drawn objectively. There is some gerrymandering that would be hilarious if it wasn’t such a bummer. This is smart.

EE.- Yes

Reduce costs for  the city’s retirement system. Should be a no brainer.

FF – Raise Minimum Wage – YES YES YES!

YES! This would raise minimum wage in Oakland to $12.25.

If you’ve ever tried to live on the minimum wage (been a long time for me) it absolutely sucks. Cost of living is through the roof and everybody is broke. GET ON IT. Raise it

Statewide Props

Proposition 1: Water Bond – YES

This one hurts. It’s not that good of a prop. It’ll lead to more damn dams. It’ll probably hurt the Delta even more. But we’ve completely screwed our environment and if we don’t want total collapse we have to go to war with what we have. It’d be great to have the luxury to say: “Try again.” We don’t have that.

Proposition 2: stabilize the budget – YES

This creates a general fund in boom periods that can be used when needed, like say: for disaster services or education. It’s just smart, it will hurt local schools in the short term, but we will come out the other side stronger for it.

Proposition 45 – Health care insurance cost control – YES

If you don’t work for the people profiting from it, I don’t see the argument against really. Health care costs are nutso high.  The CNA is for it and so am I.

Proposition 46 – Drug Test Doctors  – NO

I didn’t understand this one at first. I heard it on the TV and thought it was a comedy bit. But there isn’t too much to get. Drug testing for Doctors. Ok: well… I’m against drug testing for all professions. And while I know how this came to pass (terrible story!) it is a wild outlier. Statewide prescription drug database would be good… but no. I’m against drug tests. Period. Vote no on this.

Proposition 47 – Reform sentencing – YES

Personal use of illegal drugs shouldn’t equal prison sentences, and I don’t sleep better at night because check kiters are locked up with the rapists and murderers. Use this money for some ding dang rehabilitation. Screw the prison industrial complex!

Proposition 48 – Indian Gaming – YES

I don’t care about gambling. Everybody can gamble away all they want. Give the North Fork and Wiyot tribes theirs.

not my district but on my mind:

Measure J in SF – Minimum Wage Hike – YES, YES, YES!

Same reasons as outlined for Oakland, cost of living is through the roof

 Measure D in Berkeley – Soda Tax – YES

It’s a pretty soft yes, but soft drinks are atrocious for you.