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By Roz Rogoff

About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Branching Out

Uploaded: Dec 5, 2013
Exactly five years ago, on December 5, 2008, I met with Bill Johnson, publisher of the Palo Alto Weekly and Pleasanton Weekly about turning over the San Ramon Observer name and website to his company, Embarcadero Publishing. Gina Channel Allen joined us in the meeting since she Published Embarcadero's East Bay Weeklies in Pleasanton and Danville.

Johnson and Allen were both interested in giving me blog space in a new online newspaper, "The San Ramon Express." The Danville and Pleasanton Weeklies were printed, but also had websites. Pleasanton still has a printed weekly newspaper, but Danville and San Ramon are completely online now.

I started writing my San Ramon Observer blog in April 2009. I was doubling as a reporter and actually wrote more news stories back then than blogs. I really wanted to write more blogs, so I could give my opinions on events and not just describe what happened.

In 2010 Jessica Lipsky took over as Editor of the San Ramon and Danville Expresses and I started writing my blogs twice a week. I try to cover what is happening in San Ramon, but I also write about other Tri-Valley cities and agencies.

As my readers know, I regularly write about the Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD), which provides water and sewer services to Dublin, San Ramon, and Pleasanton. I even ran for Director of the District in 2004 and 2010, but lost both times.

More recently I've supported the Zone 7 Water Agency's attempt to separate itself from Alameda County so it could work across County lines in Contra Costa County. Zone 7 supplies the water DSRSD distributes in Dougherty Valley, but residents of Dougherty Valley cannot vote for Zone 7 Directors.

The Tri-Valley cities of Danville, San Ramon, Dublin, Pleasanton, and Livermore are intertwined in many ways, despite being in two different Counties. Residents of neighboring cities may work in Bishop Ranch just as residents of San Ramon may work in Hacienda Business Park. It's good to get some cross pollination of ideas throughout the Tri-Valley.

Our digital newspapers were given a face lift about a month ago and all of the other bloggers could automatically post in all of the other sites. I asked Gina Allen if I could be published in the other online news sites and she thought it was a good idea. That's why the San Ramon Observer is now appearing in the online Pleasanton Weekly, TriValley Views, and the Danville Express.

I'm not sure if I will keep the name San Ramon Observer in all of the other sites or just in the San Ramon Express, but I would like to write what is of interest to residents of Pleasanton, Danville, and Dublin. If any of you have something specific you would like me to tackle, please let me know.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Goodtime Charlie, a resident of Del Prado,
on Dec 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm

It's nice to know so many local right wingers belong to the same family. It helps explain PW's bloggers and censorship policies.

Roz, since we're sharing so much significant information about ourselves.... I like dark chocolate. And my favorite color is blue. Also, I had a pet dog when I was a child.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 6, 2013 at 7:18 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Hi Goodtime,

You had a dog as a child? How about now? I can direct you to several animal rescue groups that will help you find another dog, cat, bunny, whatever. Won't you feel better about yourself with another dog. I'll bet that's why you're blue.

If you read my Swalwell blog you know I sign all those ASPCA petitions. I thought us animal lovers are just a bunch of bleeding heart liberals. Nice to know I'm really a right winger and fit in so well with readers of the Pleasanton Weekly.


Posted by Goodtime Haha , a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Dear Roz, or San Ramon Observer, or whatever moniker you're using to talk to yourself on this site. (Taking hints from your chum Citizen Paine, or Tom Cushing, or the other names he uses to drum up reader interest?) When you talk about centrism and going to the right of probably the most conservatively constituted Democratic Party in decades, when you talk about Swalwell in a completely disparaging way (as any Conservative would be expected to do), when you self-identify with group(s) that urge the moderate Democratic Party to turn rightward, then you get the label that you deserve. (Charlie, in other words, is on to something.) Why not own the label instead of this disingenuous dithering about being nonpartisan?

Admit it, you and your buddy Citizen Paine, or Tom Cushing, or whatever name he is using these days, would feel very comfortable in a Reaganesque conservative party. You were thinking about voting for the Tea Party guy instead of Swalwell because, why, conservatives are such superior compromisers? I don't think you know what you're talking about, Roz, unless its about yourself which you seem far more comfortable talking about than anything approaching a serious idea.

Here, let me assign you a homework problem to think about with your chums the next time you're gathered at the pet salon. How about we expand social security? Tell us how you'd approach this issue from a self-identified bleeding heart, centrist (whatever) standpoint, Roz, or whatever your name is. And try to express your ides without simply offering platitudes about those great so-called centrist groups like Middles-Are-for-Adults or Nonpartisans United Against Those Noncompromising Democrats.

Or, here's another one. Dems want to keep current funding of SNAP program as it is. Repubs want to cut it substantially. Are you going to suggest that a nonpartisan approach would slice it somewhere down the middle? It's maybe because my Boston Terrier got hit by a car when I was seven, but I really do think SNAP recipients will quickly form a consensus about how idiotic such an approach would be, and calling itself liberal to boot!

BTW, it's not caring about stray dogs that makes one a liberal. In order to meet that threshold you'll have to convince us with a coherent idea that you care as deeply about humans as you do about poodles -- e.g., how does one compromise on a human right? Anyhoo, sorry to have distracted you from your mission to tell us more about yourself.

p.s. Please take a gander at what moneyed interests are behind these 'nonpartisan' groups you're ballyhooing about.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.

Ah the joys of the Pleasanton Weekly. I knew I would be stepping into sticky stuff by asking to be published here. Everyone in San Ramon has real lives and hardly ever posts a reply to my blogs.

Of course my blogs are all about me. I've said that numerous times. Just go back and read my past blogs. You say you don't want to read about me, so why do you make such an effort to reply?


Posted by Goodtime HaHa, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 6, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Call it my morbid curiosity regarding sloppy reasoning, especially when it pertains to people's lives. Now, I did raise some substantive points and raised questions pertaining to, you know, ideas, but -- hey, surprise-surprise -- all you can comment on is my comment about you only writing about yourself. Thanks for being consistent.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 6, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Hiya Roz: well. I see you've met my favorite Marxian. Expect him to shortly accuse you of being Ms Bunny.

Conspiracy theories to fill those lonesome weekends...

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Dec 6, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Gee, Tom, I thought you were a Marxist. You mean there's someone in the Tri-Valley more left wing than you are?


Posted by Goodtime Haha, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 6, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Like I say, All in the Family. Where self-identified libs don't know their left from their right, and can't distinguish Marxists from Marxians[sic]; where self-identified libs think anything to the left of Saint Ronald must be a flaming Marxian, or Marxist, or whatever they call those people (they sure aren't one of US); and where any set of serious validity claims is immediately reduced to IP numbers, name-calling, and conspiracy theorizing. Hilk-hilk-hilk. Yee Haw. You two remind me of the pop painting with the dogs sitting around a card table playing poker. You both really know how to elevate a discourse.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 7:10 am

Roz: The web coughed-up this test of political leaning, using both L/R and Authoritarian/Libertarian scales to plot a matrix in two dimensions. Web Link I can't vouch for it, but it appears to be of European academic origin, and you know those guys are generally pretty smart.

That test, at least, placed me significantly left of center, and southward on the A/L axis, in the same neighborhood with Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. Nice community, no gates. Interestingly, Mr. Obama is in the "northeast" quadrant, according to the authors. The previous Pope Benedict was in the "north" center -- I'm thinking the current edition is much closer to my friends and me (teaser for my next blog).

So, in contrast to the repeated harangue across weeks and now two blogs (not three, only because I didn't participate in Tim's recent abortion piece -- nor will I, so hold the goad GTC), not only am I "self-ID'd," but some smart guys in Europe think so, too. Relative position generates perspective on the field, and our friend to the left of me seems to have difficulty differentiating anyone to the right of him/her.

Posted by Goodtime Haha, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Yes, well Tom Cushing/Citizen Paine/pick 'em has provided this nifty little test and chart by some anonymous test designers who are from Europe or somewhere around there and so, on Cushing's view, must be pretty smart.

Before commenting further, I recently took an internet IQ test designed by some pretty smart people in Massachusetts (a pretty smart state, so these guys MUST be pretty smart), and I scored an IQ of 242. Yes, off the charts, I know. But based upon my own experiences, these internet tests are the real deal. Honest. And so 242 is simply my cross to bear.

The anonymous designers don't tell us their methodology. Nor do they tell us why they excluded questions about race, racial conflict, or, for that matter, much of what constitutes multiple zones of political conflict here and abroad. Why, for example, no questions on activist political protest or, say, use of violence by the state against its citizens or by citizens against the state? Or citizens' uses of violence against, say, polluters? Why no questions about state boundaries and whether they are seen as arbitrary and fabricated or not? Why no questions about an immigrant's rights within countries other than the immigrant's own?

I think I know why. Because the cheesy outfit that put all this together is simply looking to make a quick buck off of naïve chumps who can be easily suckered into treating what they've done seriously.

Oh, the kinds of omissions I mention might not be as important in Europe as they are here? I doubt it; but it's a valid point nevertheless. For when the questioners ask a question about school children being forced (or not) to attend school, are they referring to Germany or Ghana? I mention Ghana because the country has a mandatory school attendance policy, but doesn't enforce it because a sizable majority of the country's children cannot afford to attend (uniforms, books) and must work ungodly hours in order to help support their families. This holds in much of Mexico, too. And, believe it or not, parts of the United States. So, yes, the test is baldly (and badly) ethnocentric. Now, the designers admit such, to a degree. They claim, for example, that politics and political orientations differ according to 'level of civilization' or location in the world, and that THEIR test is meant primarily for the developed world. And after that statement, they then proceed to locate Gandhi and Mugabe on their graph. Nice. Restated: The test and 'analysis' are a joke. Cushing says he comes off as a moderate liberal -- near Gandhi. Is Cushing/Citizen Paine telling the truth? Even with my IQ of 242 I'm unable to say.

Well, back to the mutts gathered around the card table. Your deal, Roz. Got any good horoscope tests for us?

p.s. The test designers mention being influenced by Theodor Adorno. Now, forgive me for mentioning that I've read a book, but I see not even the faintest resemblance between what Cushing has directed us to and Adorno's own test for the authoritarian personality as found in his book "The authoritarian personality."

Posted by Goodtime Haha, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Searching for a good biorhythm chart that maybe Roz could use, I stumbled upon this instead:

Web Link

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Fascinating. All that brainpower (then again, on the internets we're All geniuses), and you deplete an entire post trying to discredit a survey tool that no one claimed was perfect -- just probably better than nothing. What part of "I can't vouch for it" got past all those constipated synapses?

Even better, you have proposed no alternative. A smart guy like you, if confident in his underlying diagnosis, would have done that first.

Posted by Goodtime Haha, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Right, let's not talk about the test ... that you offered.

And you're not vouching for it ... BUT, as you say, it's good enough to post and those Euros, like you say, are pretty smart. And it's good enough to talk about where you're positioned on it. But when someone challenges its validity, then it's all "Who Me? I only posted it!" And other disclaimers. You've got a problem with veracity, Cushing. Just sayin'.

Alternative? That's not my job; I'm not the one embarrassing himself by posting political horoscope readings. That said, you must have missed that part where I referenced a book -- one which has several tests and indices that have been used now for a half-dozen decades. (No, sorry, the tests, their methodologies, and their analyses are not on the internet -- together they span several hundred pages.)

Other alternatives? I find Phil Ochs' first few sentences to be at least as good as the political horoscopology that you offered us, and appealed to, and used, but without vouching for it. See link provided above.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm

You remind me of the kid who never gets to actually play the game, because he is fixated on arguing -- passionately -- about the rules. Paralysis by analysis. We could assume that the test is off by 25%, and I would still be in the same quadrant, where you mistakenly suggest I am not.

I know you took it, anyway. So, what was Your score?

Posted by Goodtime Haha, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm

What game are you referring to? Never mind.

Look, I'll try to make this simple for you. Green is my favorite color. But put a sirloin steak in front of me and I prefer pink to green; I prefer my bread crusted to a light brown, rather than green. In other words, the question 'What's your favorite color' is meaningless. One's color preferences must be tied to concrete things -- like forests (I prefer green over brown) and shoes (I prefer black over green).

Self-ascribed political labels mean nothing if they are not attached to one's views and actions. On virtually every topic I've engaged you, you've shown yourself to be conservative. Race? Class? Gender? Now you trot out some silly little test and want me to play with you? Sorry, will not do. Halfway through I realized the questions were poorly formulated, the designers offered no methodology, and so I bailed out in disgust. I've offered my alternative: read Adorno's 'The authoritarian personality'.

Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Sez you.

I disagree, so I find an independent authority. It confirms my self-description across several topical "attachments to one\'s views and actions." You don\'t like that outcome, so it must be the test\'s fault. And you burrow through reams of minutiae in a vain attempt to discredit it. Except it isn\'t the test\'s fault. It\'s just cognitive dissonance.

As to "which game," you don\'t have kids, do you? The answer, of course, is "any game." At a certain age, some kids are so focused on \'the rules\' that they never get past them to actually play the game. And some kids never grow out of it.

Take the test.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Dec 7, 2013 at 3:51 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Usually I like to stay out of these verbal brawls, but since I requested posting my blogs here I shall suffer the consequences. I took your test, and came out exactly in the same segment as you -- right next to our pal Gandhi.

I write my blogs under my real name and you write yours under your real name. I know you are real because I've met you in person, but Mr. Ha Ha chooses not to reveal who he is. I always tell my readers not to feed the trolls; so I'll leave his dysfunctional nourishment up to you.

Roz out

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