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Bay News: Surprise Santas, Missing Warriors, Big Hearts, Petty BS and Free Ice Cream

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For many, this past week was a time for last-minute stress shopping, followed by mass stress eating. But whether you’re of the Christmas-celebrating kind or not into that at all, we hope you had a chance to get next to some loved ones and make the holiday stress all worth it. In an effort to aid your post-climax recovery, we’re going light this week. Enjoy!

Surprise Santa

Randy Heiss was out walking his dog in Patagonia, Arizona the week before Christmas when he spotted a red balloon. When he took a closer look, he saw a note written in Spanish and realized it was a Christmas wish list from an 8-year-old girl across the border. The situation struck Heiss personally, as he had lost his own son in 2009. With the help of a radio station and Facebook, he managed to track down information about the family, including the girl who had written the note, Dayami. Heiss and his wife bought presents for the whole family and crossed the border into Mexico to share some Christmas cheer. Heiss called it a “healing” experience.

Banksy’s Girl with a Red Balloon. Photo courtesy of Alejandro de Argos

Where are the Warriors?

The Golden State Warriors are set to play the Trailblazers Thursday night and worried fans are set to huddle up together for support as they watch in fear, hoping they don’t have to witness another massacre like the one that went down on Christmas. The Lakers took out our beloved team with a dismal 127-101 final score here at home, and that was with LaBron James being taken off the court for a groin strain. The guys, except for Andre Iguodala, were off their game. Period. They shot 25 percent from the 3-point range and racked up 21 fouls. Draymond Green hit four points to match his four turnovers and fouled out with just over five minutes on the clock.

As Kevin Durant told SF Gate: “We’ve definitely been inconsistent with our play. We can definitely be better communicating on defense, moving without the basketball and just being aggressive to score a little bit more than we are.”

You think?

Steph Curry having a tough Christmas in match up against Lakers. Photo courtesy of SF Gate

The analysis and rumors that have been swirling around this season only intensified with the latest loss to the Lakers, making some speculate that the Warriors shiny star is beginning to fade. But others, like head coach Steve Kerr, see this as the evolution of the game where other teams are stepping up to the level the Warriors have  dominated over the course of the past four seasons, and that process is exposing some serious holes in the team. It’s what Kerr calls the “real NBA” and if the Warriors are going to remain competitive in this new version of the league, they’ve got some work to do on things like holding onto the ball when needed and passing it when appropriate. Let’s start there.

But all the BS aside, this is still an amazing team of incredibly skilled players and it could be that a little blow to the ego is exactly what they need to put them back in the fight.

Gov. Brown Hands Out Clemency

The outgoing governor’s administration made some calls Monday night that put a little more cheer into the holidays for 250 current or former inmates. Gov. Brown ordered 143 pardons and 131 commuted sentences on Christmas Eve – 35 people on that list are from here in the Bay Area. Brown has given clemency to more people than eight of his predecessors, but it may be that he feels a little more obligated than most. As we reported earlier this week, Brown was instrumental in creating the state’s mass incarceration problem when he signed off on minimum sentencing laws during his first (of four) terms as governor in 1976 and he is attempting to right some of those old wrongs before he leaves the elected office for the final time. One of Brown’s picks has gained national attention with his order to allow additional DNA testing for the 1983 quadruple murder in Chino Hills. The man convicted of that crime, Kevin Cooper, has maintained that he is innocent and claims to have been framed.

Kevin Cooper listens during his preliminary hearing in Ontario in November 1983 for the murders in Chino Hills in June of 1983.
(Walter Richard Weis / Staff Photographer)

One person who did not make the list was Napoleon Brown, the brother of San Francisco Mayor London Breed who was convicted of manslaughter and other crimes related to an incident in 2000. Breed’s personal appeal to grant him early parole was denied without much explanation.

The National Nutshell

You may not have noticed that the government is partially shut down, but you can bet that the hundred of thousands of federal employees forced to work without pay or forced into mandatory furlough have definitely noticed. We arrived here on the back of a presidential temper tantrum and resolution seems far from attainable. Prior to the actual shut down, Congress had actually pulled off the impossible and agreed to a clean continuing resolution that would fund the government into February. But the president threw a wrench into the flow after he turned on Fox News and watched as pundit hosts ripped him a new one for backing down on his $5 billion wall demand. Suddenly, no bill would be acceptable without full funding of the wall, I mean fence, I mean steel slat structure super sharp and shiny spikes, I mean whatever the hell you call it that is supposed to cure all woes by keeping refugees from crossing our border and requesting asylum.

Signs of a government shutdown. Photo courtesy of CNBC

The Democrats, who will come home to run the House in January, essentially believe the wall is a lame idea and they’re refusing to pony up the dough we really don’t have – let’s consider the revenue lost with Trump’s tax “reform” and the super stable stock market (as stable as the genius who threw the market onto a roller coaster ride of volatility). And by the way, we do already have barriers at nearly 700 miles along the Mexico-U.S. border where the terrain doesn’t create a natural deterrent – check it out.

Trump’s announcement about a withdrawal from Syria shook his administration and inspired his Secretary of Defense, Gen. James Mattis, to resign in public fashion with a three-page letter outlining his views on the president’s lack of vision and loyalty to our allies. Mattis personally handed the president the letter outlining his reasoning and timeline for his exit, which he established would be in February. Trump’s aversion to words on a page bit him in the ass when it was made clear that he neglected to read the letter – he went on to his favorite bark box (Twitter) and praised the general’s work and announcing his “retirement.” It didn’t take long before someone informed him that Mattis did not retire as much as he quit in protest, and suddenly the February timeline was bumped up to as close to immediately as possible. The new acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanihan, a former Boeing executive with little-to-no foreign policy experience, is set to take over the helm on Jan. 1.

With all the chaos in the government, Trump’s admonishing a child for believing in Santa and his quick little campaign rally in Iraq, it could be easy to forget that the Special Counsel is still hard at work and sources say we could have a full report by mid-February. But you know who hasn’t forgotten? Mueller. I’ll leave it at that.

Weird shit to do on your day off

My grandma always said, “Ice cream is medicine.” And she was right, it really is. You can go get your fill of medicine for FREE this Friday at noon, until supplies run out. Humphry Slocombe’s in San Francisco is turning 10 and they’re giving free ice cream birthday gifts out to celebrate. Check out details here.

Ice cream solves everything. Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Brendan Church

Get out with your family and observe Kwanzaa with community events scheduled through the weekend as part of the 13th annual celebration. Each of the seven days highlights a different principle: Friday focuses on cooperative economics, Saturday shines a light on purpose and Sunday encourages creativity. Events for each day are scheduled throughout San Francisco and will run through Jan. 1. Details and locations for each portion of celebration can be found here.

There are countless ways to bring in the new year around the Bay Area. You can get under the balloon drop in Oakland, sip champagne in SOMA, take a midnight hike with the Sierra Club or bash it out Balkan-style in Berkeley – if you can dream it up, it probably exists. Check out SF Funcheap for New Year’s celebrations as unique as you are and don’t forget that Muni and Caltrain are serving free rides all night, so you can land safely at home instead of behind bars. Jail is not the way you want to start the new year. Have fun, people…and let’s cross all of our fingers, toes and eyes in hopes that 2019 brings us a little needed empathy and sanity.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! Photo courtesy of Unsplash/Ian Schneider

 

 

 

 

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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.