Saturday, December 31, 2011

Who is Mehrdad Dokhanchy?

Here is the link to the police statement used as the basis for the eviction of the Zion Cypress encampment:!/Awesome_Hubris/status/152191715669848064/photo/1

Here is a photo of the building listed as Mehrdad Dokhanchy's place of employment:

Why would Mehrdad Dokhanchy--who according to Google, lives in Lafayette and is the Director of Taxation at Ross Stores, Inc.--list his place of employment as 3762 Piedmont Avenue, otherwise known as Cybelle's Pizza?

Perhaps there are two Mehrdad Dokhanchy's in the Bay Area: one a high-powered corporate executive, the other a simple but honest purveyor of mediocre pizza pies who also likes to dabble in West Oakland real estate. My money, however, is on them being one and same person. Considering that Mehrdad Dokhanchy is a tax expert, I bet he and his compatriots in urban non-renewal are accruing some mighty tax write-offs from the Zion Cypress property.

This is probably business as usual for the moneyed classes--the sort of shenanigans they've been getting up to for donkey's years. It's no doubt perfectly legal. It's also, in my opinion, immoral to leave perfectly good land in a state of disrepair for over a decade in hopes that one day you'll be able to build condos on it and sell them to affluent commuters.

My suggestion to Mr. Dokhanchy: donate the land to a good cause and concentrate on improving your damn pizza.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The game continues

Here's a snapshot of OPD breaking up the vigil at Ogawa-Grant Plaza on December 30th, 2011.

At what point will the brilliant minds at City Hall figure out that every time they harass occupiers with the selective enforcement of obscure portions of Municipal Code, occupiers will bounce back through another mole hole?

This is a game the City of Oakland cannot win. Mayor Quan, City Administrator Santana, and Police Chief Jordan need to come to terms with Occupy Oakland and its ability to endure and thrive in a hostile environment. Remember, it's the last week of the year...imagine how energized the movement will be come March, April, May and into the long, probably not very hot, but potentially action-filled summer of 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Occupy Pickled Bologna!

It's been almost a year since I last posted on Pickled Bologna. (To my one follower, I apologize!) I've spent most of the interim writing elsewhere about film, but in the last few months I've become deeply interested in the development of the Occupy movement, the most important social movement the first world has seen in decades. I've wanted to get involved, but as I don't use Facebook, Twitter, or any other social networking sites or tools, I've decided to reactivate PB as an Occupy-friendly blog. Who knows--perhaps someone will actually read it now!

To clarify: I'm not a camper, I'm not a hippie, I'm not a pot-smoker, and I've never relied on government assistance in my life. I'm a white, middle-class, middle-aged guy with a job and a family. I've lived in Oakland, California for thirty years and support and endorse the 24-hour a day, 365 days a year occupation of our public space. We've allowed the definition of 'public space' to be so narrowed over the years that the very concept now barely exists (e.g., Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza/Brookfield). It's time to change that.

I was appalled when the Oakland Police Department cleared the Occupy Oakland camp from Ogawa-Grant Plaza on October 25th. Though Jean Quan was conveniently out of town that day--the day that her future in politics effectively came to an end-- City Administrator Deanna Santana was in the office, and Haig be praised, she was in charge. Once in the saddle, Santana (who'd once worked for OPD) eagerly ordered the police to take the gloves off.

We all know what happened next, but so far our esteemed City Administrator has managed to avoid most of the blame for the near murder of protester Scott Olsen and the brutalization of scores of others. Though Mayor Quan has proven herself an inept administrator in thrall to the Chamber of Commerce, it's my belief that Santana is the real power behind the throne, the true villain of the piece, and the driving force behind our ostensibly 'progressive' city's response to Occupy.

My politics, once shockingly mainstream, had been moving to the left ever since 9/11. The election of Obama and his subsequent failure to even pretend to be interested in issues of social and economic justice and civil liberties moved me further down the road. Santana's decision to attack peaceful protesters was the Eureka moment when it finally dawned on me that 'progressive/liberal' Democratic politicians have been feeding us a line for decades. Call me dim, but it's taken me this long to realize that all they're interested in is the perquisites and exercise of power. In fact, they're just like right-wing Republican ideologues, only less effective.

So here we are at the end of 2011. As I'm typing this, OPD is breaking up another Occupy Oakland encampment--this time on an enclosed piece of property so valueless that it's purported owners (Lafayette resident and Ross Dress for Less exec [1% represent!] Mehrdad Dokhanchy, Brian Collins, and Edward Hermmat) DIDN'T EVEN BOTHER TO PUT A LOCK ON THE GATE. And yet, once a group of activists and homeless people erected a few tents on the other side of that gate, this empty lot suddenly and magically acquired tremendous value--so much, in fact, that the foot soldiers of capitalism (er, OPD) were once again called upon to reclaim it for its slumlord masters, who presumably use it as a tax write-off.

I will have much, much more to say about the Occupy movement in the coming days. In the meantime, Occupy Everything!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tienes vivir si usted lo quiere

Does any other live album of the 1960s convey the power of Original Wyld Garage Punk as well as this one does? I think not.

Los Yaki were a Mexican four piece from Reynosa, a border city near McAllen, Texas. This may explain their access to the latest cool swingin' '60s sounds and their comfort with the English language.

Please! Please! Please! was released on the Mexican Pickwick label, a subsidiary of Capitol Records. Besides the title track, it also includes live versions of Wild Thing, See See Rider, Mustang Sally, Don't Bring Me Down, Devil With a Blue Dress On, Shapes of Things, Land of a Thousand Dances, and Anna (this final number featuring badly out of tune backing vocals, but hey--they probably couldn't hear themselves singing).

Unlike most 'live' albums of the period, this one actually sounds live. The audience screams match the performances, which don't seem to have been sweetened or re-recorded after the fact. There is a little between song editing in evidence, but probably just to remove the inevitable guitar-tuning.

The song selection is outstanding--these guys clearly had great taste--but it's the musicianship that really impresses. Jose Luis Gascon unleashes some scorching lead guitar, whilst bassist brother Manuel Gascon keeps the low end well under control. Benny Ibarra's lead vocals are powerful, Marcos Lizama's organ adds texture without being intrusive, and Miguel Ibarra is the drummer. He keeps the beat more than adequately.

Put it all together, and you have muscular, well-recorded (but not TOO well-recorded, if you know what I mean), live English-language recordings of some of the best songs of the era. Other than Anna, there are no ballads, only rockers.

Basically, it's everything you could want from a live album: the performances are great and it sounds real. I don't think Please! Please! Please! has ever been reissued, so you'll have to trawl Ebay for a copy. It's worth the trouble.

About Me

My photo
I am a semi-aquatic marine mammal who enjoys eating fish and krill, as well as taking long underwater swims