Tag Archives: Point Richmond

The Point Richmond turkeys

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I wonder if the turkeys are going to come by today.  Even though they’ve been coming by two, maybe three times a week for the last three months, I still get excited whenever I see them.  I start talking in that tone of voice I reserve for kittens or puppies and can never just say the word “turkey” once.  It has to be “hi turkey turkey turkey!”  Yes, apparently being in the presence of poultry makes me act like a damn fool.

No one knows where these birds suddenly came from.  All I know is that the week after I got back from my retreat at Spirit Rock, which also hosts a flock of turkeys, these turkeys showed up in the lot behind my house.  Since where I live in no way resembles the peaceful, idyllic hills of Spirit Rock, I was so thrilled to at least have my own flock of turkeys.  And to further add to the appeal of these wild creatures, the flock of a dozen or so also included some baby turkeys, which I later learned are called poults.   They’ve grown up quickly, those poults, now I can barely distinguish them from the rest of the flock.

I’ve heard turkeys can become quite a nuisance in some neighborhoods.  I can understand that, especially neighborhoods where a well-tended lush lawn is valued.  But, that’s not the case here in Point Richmond.  This older, hilly neighborhood does not have a lot of lawns for them to tear up though I’m not sure how they feel about other kinds of landscaping.  They will always be welcome in the large hilly lot behind my house though.  At one point an ambitious/greedy developer bought that lot and had plans for a large apartment complex.  He got as far as building a huge concrete foundation and then ran out of money and then he was foreclosed upon.  It’s the most perplexing structure.  The boyfriend, who is a builder himself, is likewise baffled about what was going to built upon that unusual foundation.  I like to call it the Stonehenge of Point Richmond.  So, once again, that lot becomes open space, a perfect place for a flock of turkeys to hang out.

But, they’re not much for just hanging out, those turkeys.  They are quite focused, constantly pecking and digging for food.  To encourage them, the boyfriend scatters birdseed behind my house and it does appear these huge birds do like the same seed I feed to dainty little songbirds.  I’ll see them for about a half an hour outside the back of my house then they move along.  I’ve spotted them on the other side of town walking down the middle of the street as if they owned it.  After sitting for a minute or two waiting for them to cross, I gave my horn a gentle tap to encourage them to scatter.  Another neighbor a few blocks away said they wandered through a party she was having in backyard.

I think these turkeys were wise to choose our little community for their new home.  Every year on Thanksgiving morning, there is the tradition of the Point Richmond Turkey Shoot.  Fortunately, there are no guns involved, just bad poetry, our City Councilman’s goats and Wild Turkey whiskey.  Perhaps this year we find some way to incorporate and honor and new neighbors into the annual ritual.  That would be a nice way to officially welcome them.  We’re friendly like that.

My neighbor Chevron

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Geez, talk about overkill and a complete waste of police resources! It tells you a lot about the relationship between Chevron and the City of Richmond. One of the major complaints and reasons given for the high crime rates in Richmond is that there are not enough police. OK, fair enough. If I had the inclination to be a police officer and I had my choice of some sleepy bedroom community or Richmond, I’d probably take the sleepy bedroom community. But, from the heavy police presence here in Point Richmond today you would never know there was a shortage of police.

I just came back from anti-Chevron rally in “downtown” Point Richmond. As with most protests these days, there were a number of issues being protested, but the two major points today were Chevron being a very bad corporate neighbor, and the war in Iraq. I would guesstimate there were maybe 200 people there. Maybe. And for those 200 people, there were at least 15 officers on site, plus another 2 or 3 dozen blockading the streets in Point Richmond leading to the Chevron refinery. I had to show ID to get home for crying out loud! And the two freeway exits for the Point have likewise been closed. I’m sorry, but isn’t this a bit of overkill?

Just hanging out

I’m no big fan of Chevron. Like other oil companies, they make obscene profits and lord knows what kinds of shenanigans they are involved with overseas in the Middle East and Africa. But, that is almost to be expected. I was the one who chose to live next to a major oil refinery. They were here first. I am in no position to complain about business as usual. Because of the presence of Chevron, I could afford to live in this lovely, quaint, bay-side, Marin-like community. If it weren’t for Chevron and the railroad yards that border the Point, this area would probably become a more desirable and expensive area to live.

However, lately (and probably before that) Chevron has not being a good neighbor. They are disputing the taxes they owe Richmond, and now they are apparently withholding information regarding some “enhancements” they wish to make to the refinery. With all the profits they make it is absolutely criminal that they are not paying their fair share of taxes. Because of Chevron’s greed desperately needed city services may not be able to be funded. You know, such luxuries as libraries, fire stations, and schools. It makes me sick. And our City Council also has a history of rolling over like a big sweet dumb dog every time Chevron comes around.

During our last election, Richmond elected a Green mayor, Gayle McLaughlin (below), which for an industrial, urban city was pretty freakin’ awesome. Yet, most of the City Council is no where near as progressive, so there hasn’t been that much change yet.

Mayor McLaughlin

Later in the day . . .

Wow. Well, that was exciting. I decided to go out and grab something for lunch and I couldn’t get out of town. All routes of escape were blocked. The most disturbing part of it was was when I was trying to turn my car around a motorcycle officer put on his siren and started shouting at me to PARK THE CAR. PARK IT NOW! uh . . . ok. Damn. But, at least I had a front row seat to the march as they walked by on their way to the Chevron gates.

crowd

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It looked like the usual suspects you see at an anti-war protest. Well meaning, but perhaps a bit naive. Without a strong unified actionable message, it gets depicted as just another gathering of discontents upset about the state of the world. They end up only preaching to the choir, which may feel good, but ultimately it is very ineffective. I think there was an opportunity to let the larger community know about what a rotten corporate neighbor Chevron has become, but it got lost in all the usual anti-war rhetoric. Me, I’m going to the Planning Commission meeting this week where they are going to discuss the decidedly unsexy Chevron EIR and show my support for the city not approving it.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Every year on Thanksgiving morning here in Point Richmond there is the annual Turkey Shoot. So, what is that we are shooting? Well, it is not turkeys, nor (which I feel obliged to add because we are in the 9th most violent city in the US) each other. No, what gets shot is Wild Turkey whiskey.

Some people dress up, some bring their antique cars, many bring their dogs and our City Councilman brings his goats. Everyone meets in front of the old Plunge (the Richmond Natorium) and then at some vaguely appointed hour (or when the goats get too antsy), the crowd parades the two blocks through “downtown” Point Richmond to a divey bar. People then queue up to purchase a shot of Wild Turkey whiskey, or some other libation. Much milling about ensues until some fellow comes out and reads a really bad poem about our fair community. Glasses are raised. People gobble. Whiskey is consumed and milling about resumes. And the goats look about nervously wondering when they can go back to their nice quiet hillside.

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The goats were definitely the center of attention

whiskey and bus exhaust

Nothing says Thanksgiving morning like a shot of whiskey and some bus exhaust

I’m not a person big on traditions (though I do like the Turkey Shoot). I think holidays are pretty much for children, people with children, or people who nostaligic for their happpy childhood. Since I don’t qualify for any of those categories, I’m very happy just having a nice quiet day. I’ve moved past the “I hate the holidays” phase and have come to peace with the fact they don’t mean much to me. The boyfriend, however, is much more traditional (despite being Mr. Counter-Culture) and he loves a good turkey on Thanksgiving, the family visit on Christmas, and the old timey 4th of July parade. So, on Thanksgiving, I let him cook a turkey, and even though I’m vegetarian I’ll have a piece and make the requisite yummy noises. It makes him happy.

So here’s to making others happy! (clink)