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.


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.

All songs © Conan Neutron & the Secret Friends
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Sharealike 3.0 unported (CC BY-NC-SA3.0)
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!)

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.

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.

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

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 (

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.


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


Oakland, District 2:

1) Abel Guillen

2) Nonsense

3) Not Dana King

City Auditor:

1) Len Raphael

2) Nonsense

3) Brenda Roberts


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:




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.



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.

Neutron voting guide 06/03/2014

Governor – Luis Rodriguez

Lt. Governor – Jena Goodman

Attorney General – Kamala Harris

Controller – John Perez

Secretary of State – Derek Cressman

Insurance Commissioner – Nathalie Hrizi

Treasurer – John Chiang

Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tom Torlakson

Board of Equalization, District 2 - nobody or write in.

US, House of Representatives, district 13 – Barbara Lee

US, House of Representatives, district 14 – Jackie Speier

SF Judges (all are fine)

Prop 41: $600 million bond to provide multifamily housing to veterans - YES (soft)

Prop 42: Force counties to comply with the California Public Records Act — Yes (soft)

Measure AA: Healthcare Safety Net Reauthorization — Alameda County – YES


Governor – Luis Rodriguez

In the general, I will vote for Jerry Brown. For sure, no waffles. He does some frustrating things but the guy is a good governer for a practically ungovernable state. I’m voting for Luis Rodriguez largely because we the general will be the “top two vote getters” one will be Jerry Brown, and because people vote on party lines the other one will be one of the Republicans. Almost certainly Neel Kashkari, who will lose. I’d love for it to be an actual debate of ideas though…. so! My vote goes third party.


Lt. governor – Jena Goodman

Exactly the same thing as Governor. You think Gavin Newsom doesn’t take this? You’re tripping. It’ll be him and one of these Republicans though. So again: third party.


Attorney General – Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris is an Attorney General who is against the death penalty, and pro medical marijuana (at least on paper.) sounds ok to me! She hasn’t really stepped it up on the latter, letting the US Justice department walk all over the dispenseries and growers (which, HINT! HINT! *WAS* one of the primary sources or revenue for Oakland). She has been exactly as brave as you would expect somebody that could “GO ALL THE WAY(tm)” higher office style, but she is a good AG. And remember people, she got in on a very small margin before.


Controller – John Perez

He’s the first openly gay speaker in the CA assembly and he would be the first LGBT person elected to statewide office. He’s really smart about pension fund investment and local tax laws… Betty Yee would also be fine, but Perez is better.


Secretary of State – Derek Cressman

That Alex Padilla character isn’t bad either, but it is annoying that so many people use SoS as a jumping off board for other offices. Cressman is a voting rights advocate that works for a non-profit that focuses on electoral reform. OK!


Insurance Commissioner – Nathalie Hrizi

Dave Jones will win this in a walk. Which is fine, but yeah… voting third partu on this one. Nathalie is a sassy public school teacher with a (literal) megaphone.


Treasurer – John Chiang

John Chiang was a pretty darn good Controller, he’ll be a pretty darn good Treasurer.


Superintendent of Public Instruction – Tom Torlakson

I’m honestly a little conflicted about this one, but Torlakson is a former teacher and the incumbent has done ok. His opponent is really into charter schools and private schools, and while it may sound counterintuitive having worked for a charter school system. Many of them are bad (not all! many)


Board of Equalization, District 2 - nobody or write in.

Fiona Ma kind of sucks as does her opponent. Disappointing that somebody good didn’t run for this.


US, House of Representatives, district 13 – Barbara Lee

Barbara Lee speaks for me. She is getting on in years, but she is a damn fine representative.


US, House of Representatives, district 14 – Jackie Speier


SF Judges (all are fine)


There are a bunch of people running unopposed in Alameda county… whic his always annoying. But none of them are that odious. Still, what the heck man? I hate unopposed elections.


County Superintendent of Schools; Alameda County Board of Education – Naomi Eason

Relatively tough choice, but again… a teacher, principal and then district administrator.

good by me!


Prop 41: $600 million bond to provide multifamily housing to veterans - YES (soft)

I came *THIS CLOSE* to voting NO on this, because i’m sick of seeing all of these feel good propositions but in front of the people who don’t understand the ramifications of what these votes mean.

That said, we treat our veterans terribly in this country. So if there is a chance to rectify that. I’m for it. I totally understand if others aren’t willing to support this though,.


Prop 42: Force counties to comply with the California Public Records Act — Yes (soft)

Again, you’d think this would be a no brainer right? Transparency is always good right? Weeeeeeeell… it also invalidates a law that says the state has to imburse municipalities for their expenses. This may not sound like much, and in fact some places already do that. But some of the smaller communities may well suffer. I’ve *SEEN* this law, in action get in the way of otherwise helpful projects because some busy body decided to throw a wrench in the works because of some personal axe to grind. That said, that is more rare than not.

so Yes… but a soft yes.


Man, I get sick of saying that, give me something to vote *FOR* people!


Measure AA: Healthcare Safety Net Reauthorization — Alameda County – YES

vote no and sales tax drops half a cent. If it is that important to you, fine… otherwise that money goes to essential health services to provide trauma and emergency medical services for low-income and uninsured familes, kids and seniors. Have you been to an ER lately? Yeah, if you have you know that this has to be yes.

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