Today’s show covered a lot of ground. There was an intentional arson yesterday near the fishhook at Highway 17 and Highway 1. Two suspects were arrested very quickly, one running from the scene with a butane lighter in hand. Allegedly Kelly Hawkins was mad that the Elks Lodge had her illegally parked car towed. And in her drug induced world of bright ideas, this four time probationer, ten time arrestee in the past 12 months, thought she would burn the joint down as revenge.
She allegedly got Mitchell Swienton to join her on her crusade of burning the Elks Lodge down. Luckily the Santa Cruz Fire Department and Cal Fire quickly got the fire under control before homes were burned or innocent people injured or killed. Both alleged arsonists list the Homeless Services Center as their address.
I discussed this extensively with callers including Ken “SkinDog” Collins about the confluence of problems demonstrated in this crime, the attraction of drugs, homeless, and crime to Santa Cruz. Listen online or download the mp3 file HERE
I also mentioned on the show that I would update the spreadsheet posted yesterday with a new one adding a tab for Santa Cruz County employees exceeding federal pay scales. Feel free to download and peruse:
UPDATE: I was asked about federal pay based on how expensive an area’s cost of living. In the spreadsheet above there is a breakdown by region, the federal government pays more in higher cost of living areas. From the Office of Personnel and Management:
33 Areas and “Rest of U.S”
Locality pay is set by comparing GS and non-Federal pay in each locality pay area, based on salary surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). BLS is unable to survey all the many areas where Federal employees work, and we currently have 33 separate metropolitan locality pay areas. All other employees in the contiguous 48 States are included in the “Rest of U.S.” (RUS) locality pay area. BLS conducts a number of small-scale surveys in the RUS area and combines the results for setting the RUS locality pay rate.”
UPDATE 2: Furthermore, not only are the local and county governments paying certain individuals greater salaries than the federal scale, but the retirement benefits are richer too not only because of pay but because a higher amount is attributed. So not only is the yearly pay too high, the retirement benefits are excessive and unmaintainable, ultimately in time too much of tax revenue will go to service retirement benefits as seen in places like San Jose and San Diego where they had to dial back pension benefits. Federal (FERS) info can be found HERE while CalSTRS is found HERE
Today on KSCO Presents I was joined in-studio by Monterey County 2nd District Supervisor Lou Calcagno. His deep ties with the community, extensive agri-business background, and public service provided for an informative interview. His answers to my questions came not from a politician, but a concerned citizen helping his community.
During the conversation I mentioned a salary database. Below is the spreadsheet with Monterey County salary information along with additional tabs with federal pay information. Please take a look
What do you think of when you hear Dallas, Texas? Maybe J.R. Ewing, the Cowboys football team, big hair, or Southwest Airlines? It is time to add food to the list. Great food. Creative food.
I had the fortunate opportunity to go back and visit Dallas this past weekend with my family. And as soon as the trip took shape, my mouth began watering for some delicious Tex-Mex at Avila’s. Don’t I get enough Mexican food in California?
Mexican food in California and Tex-Mex simply are NOT the same. Tex-Mex is as different as the English language spoken in London compared to Fargo. For example, Tex-Mex has the idea of Chile Con Queso which is a lovely melted cheese, typically with peppers, sometimes adding in beef, all for dipping in your crispy tortilla chip. The idea of queso in California is a plate of shredded cheese.
Avila’s Restaurant serves the best Tex-Mex I have ever devoured. Everything is fresh made in the kitchen and you can really taste that difference. No assembly line food here. Not a fancy place but cozy and comfortable. Family still works here and some of the staff have been around for many years.
For the main dish, I vacillate between the Mole Con Pollo and the Beef Brisket Tacos as they are both quite delicious. The Mole sauce is perfection, not sweet, not grainy, but smooth, earthy, and rich. The beef in the tacos tastes like it has slow cooked for the whole day, still nice and moist, chopped into appropriate small bites, and a fun roll on the back of your teeth texture.
Next on the list is a brand new restaurant I had never visited, Sissy’s Southern Kitchen & Bar. This place really plays up its southern roots. Dress code appears to be loafers, jeans, checkered shirts, and bow ties.
The corn bread and biscuit basket is the way to start here. Not only was a light and sweet honey butter served, they also had an assortment of house-made jams to choose from including blackberry-lime, blackberry-raspberry, strawberry-rhubard, and jalapeño.
I then went straight for the gusto, chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and gravy as companions. Now for all of you who have never visited the south, you might think why in the world would you chicken fry steak and what in the world does that mean? I used to think that too, until I tasted it. A simple cube steak fried up in a pan with flour spiced with salt, pepper, and whatever else the chef decides to mix in. There really is nothing like it. Imagine fried chicken but steak inside! Sissy’s really does the chicken fried steak justice. Just the right spices in the flour added a spicy tone to the crisp, the steak was well tenderized, and just the right amount of juice remained, not too much to drip and spill but enough to slide around.
After making my way through the CFS, I spotted a dessert item that I just had to try, strawberry-rhubarb cobbler. Now when I was a boy my mom would pick fresh rhubarb and raspberries from our backyard and make an amazing crumb. Sometimes we’d get strawberries from the next-door neighbors and she’d make strawberry-rhubard crumb which was always my favorite dessert. The tart twist of the rhubarb mixed with the sweet of raspberries or strawberries all topped by a brown sugar sweetened crumb. Yum. Sissy’s did it up just right. The tart rhubarb, the sweet strawberries, a light and thick pastry top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. It was amazing.
I could go on to describe the goodness of Huevos ala Mexicana at the old school El Jordan Cafe in the trendy Bishop Arts district, or the proper fried chicken at Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen, the handmade chocolates and ice cream at Chocolate Secrets, but I want to give you just enough to know. To know that the next time you go to Dallas for a conference or meeting or whatever, break away and go explore the awaiting gastronomic experiences the cosmopolitan Dallas metroplex has to offer.
KBYR AM 700, Anchorage, Alaska invited me on the Glen Biegel show again this morning. He and I have been discussing a variety of technology topics and today we covered the latest news from Apple, competition in the marketplace, and the low-down on the NSA and spying. Click the link below to listen to the 11 minute interview.