Saturday, January 14, 2017

I Don't Care About Your Political Fan Fiction

Words in papers, words in books
Words on TV, words for crooks
Words of comfort, words of peace
Words to make the fighting cease

Words to tell you what to do
Words are working hard for you
Eat your words but don't go hungry
Words have always nearly hung me

So, I just ate a candy bar on my no-carb diet. Don’t worry. I can keep a secret. I won’t tell anyone.

You know the last time I posted on this blog, I was told it was fragmented and really didn’t make any sense. That really took me aback in a sarcastic sort of way. You see, the real problem here, is that I need to make yet, yes, another transition. I must be a statesman.

Since I am running for Modesto City Council District 4, I must concentrate on the Serenity prayer and not go off on a tangent, flaring my ego like the wings of a phoenix rising from the ashes, trying to convince you1 that I have upgraded part of the slang English language and that my references of certain members of our community2 are only meant as hard degradations to these individuals personally, and that I am, by no means trying to erode any part of my voter’s sect.

I am the man for all parties3 and I mean why not. I am pro Queer, but pro Life. Pro Immigration, but Pro-Gun.

Anti-Law Enforcement? No, not at all. I back the Badge. Just not the corruption behind it.4

People want to tell me what to say and what not to. What to write, what to show, what to tell, how to live. If it does not agree with them 100 percent they become my enemies in a heart beat, leaving me going, “Wait, what? What?”5

And that reminds me of my 2007 Modesto City Council Run in which I ran at large, rather than by District. After getting a teen drinking ordinance passed in Waterford, CA, a member of the Council had heard that I had turned in my paperwork to run for the office and asked me, “So, Bob, why did you decide to turn to the dark side? – Politics!”

I took that to be more of a rhetorical question, and was later to learn, as I learned even what my aspirations really were that it truly is the dark side if the line is not carefully walked. But that makes me the perfect candidate. A politician with issues you will agree and disagree at the same time with, but the issues of the community solely. Not a developer interest in annexing and zoning purely for profit, prestige and whatever else the hell these bastards are after. Such as golf course memberships, etc.

Me? I want to openly carry a firearm. And so should you.

Neighbor’s dog barking just a bit too much for your taste in the night? Save the taxpayers some money and do what you know you must do.6

Music too loud?7

And that’s just one idea.

Watch how easy it will be for me to annex every square inch of the City of Modesto that is not incorporated.

Watch how red my fellow money leeches on the Modesto City Council will turn when I force the City of Modesto and the County of Stanislaus to turn over millions of dollars worth of misappropriated and withheld grant funds with interest.

Watch indictments fly, only to be shot down by statutes of limitations, but then the truth will be known. And not just through a self promoting blog.8 Well, that and that the head of the Civil Grand Jury (our indictment vehicle) is headed consistently by District Attorney Dave Harris.9

Guerrilla politics? No, just a simple man with a plan. A plan to liberate his fellow Stanislausian.

I don’t have to kiss baby’s and ass. All I have to do is bring my years upon years of experience to the table and show that I know what is up and that I have a plan to do it. And what better way to do it anyway, than to do it as part of my race. That way, even if I lose, my agenda is still accomplished.

Thank God for DC and the Supreme Court. Otherwise, I am sure that the existing members of the Modesto City Council would have me drawn, quartered, tarred, feathered, whipped and altogether exterminated, just exactly in the same way that the Chinese that worked the Stanford railroad in the mid to late 1800’s were slaughtered exactly where the Modesto City Council Chambers rest today.10

Later, in the next Century there was to be built two great monumental buildings that the very beginning of the glory of Modesto was borne of. That would be the Hotel Houston and the Hotel Covell respectively.11

But that is not before the true story tellers of history, would most certainly have you believe that the Chinese man (women and children too – they just forgot to mention them) was literally saved by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department, formed specifically for the purpose of eliminating a group of Chinese killing vigilantes calling themselves, “The Regulators”.

Because the killings did not stop and the Sheriff Department participated as well all to appease Mr. Stanford, the Central Pacific Railroad tycoon. A man isn’t a man till he has had to make payroll. But since when would these people think of the Chinese as “men”? Certainly no sooner than the Supervisors and Council members would think of the homeless as humans.

But a blind eye is a happy eye.

And you are reading the ramblings of a man that is going to set right what was wronged so many years ago and stand up for the “Oriental” massage parlors. I will be pretending that they are all Chinese, just like I pretend they are Vietnamese at Ho Chi Minh – right smack dab in the middle of the 132 Freeway, Highway or If I had my preference in feign reference – Interstate 132.12

But I digress.

      1.       Yes, you. You know who you are.

2.       In particular, members of the Stanislaus District Attorney’s Office

3.       Dennis Banks was on the Presidential ticket by the way – Peace and Freedom Party. You might know them better as socialists.

4.       The Swastika is actually a peaceful religious symbol.

5.       Yes, you know who you are and so do you as well.

6.       That’s right. You know what I’m talking about.

7.       You get the idea. Problems solved.

8.       Yes, you know who you are too. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you.

9.       And you thought Richard Nixon was bad.

10.   They even have proudly portrayed the photos of Stanislaus County Supervisors upon the walls of the City Hall Chambers that participated in the murder of Chinese Americans where Fuzio’s is now. I wouldn’t order the Chinese food there.

11.   But as though a time machine has gone rogue somewhere, nobody is going to know what I am referring to, except for that fool at the White Only Modesto Museum that is once again going to be irked that I would have the audacity to mention the genocide that took place in my name. (Not that this is the first time, mind you).

12.   Sorry Nick, I just had to.

Copyright 2017 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Bui – Doi - Stanford at Large in the Modesto Airport District – Ho Chi Minh (Again)

The blazing sun is reaching out across the deserted landscape of Modesto again, although no one will dare admit it in such polite and political company. Man. It's hot. Seriously? Really? Right?

The very same, indeed, as none will admit that when George Lucas envisioned Tatooine, it was all too easy, because he had been raised there. Here, as it were, in Modesto.

Modesto. Where fair weather politicians such as Chris Murphy, feebly attempt to revive long dead corpses, such as George Lucas' interest in Modesto at all...or his father, Darth Vader. Seriously? Really? Right?

Darth Vader, AKA – George Lucas Sr. never left, nor ever cared for his son to leave either.

Luke Skywalker, AKA – George Lucas Jr. never looked back [1] . All was soon to seem forgiven and forgotten except for the things we just simply don't speak of in hick company. Things that make us grit out teeth and tightly rub our fingers together as though it were a tell. Hoping all the while nothing upsets the rocky road apple cart, which is the la la fantasy that every Modestan seems to be inflicted by.

Chris Murphy, AKA Princess Leha - knows that the dark side is important to me. I am the antidote to the Death Star Soma. Thirteenth at the table. The uninvited guest. Seriously? Really? Right?

I saw Star Wars on McHenry and Briggsmore in 1977. I was a fresh 12 year old out of Kindergarten. About a decade later, I was a nineteen year old nurse working at the first year of a posh nursing home by the name of English Oaks, AKA – Michael Ray's New Redbluff Convalescent Hospital.

Michael Ray, AKA the strict Dunkard Director of Nurses (D.O.N.) was more of a hero to me than George Lucas Jr. was. He ran the new facility with even more strict rigor than he did the other facility in Riverbank. Yet, George Lucas was just as much of a hero to me as any Modestan. And that is saying quite a bit since his was the only name they could remember, considering no one here knows that this is where the Olympic Medalist Mark Sptiz also grew up. Seriously? Really? Right?

Twas' one fateful night that I did find myself, literally cradling Darth Vader in my arms, in the process of changing his linens. Frightened he was. Shivering he. Never looking at nor acknowledging me at any time. Oblivious? I doubted and doubt now. What could one expect from a person, left to die in a nursing home? Seriously? Really? Right?

All of Modesto's claim to fame celebrations are absent the presence of the not so prodigal native son. If this was a perfect world, the Modesto Chamber of Commerce would have done a Ribbon Cutting for Vader and Son's Office Machines.

The Multi-Million Dollar Modesto Gospel Mission, AKA - the People's Temple is under new management now. Though most certainly a God sent blessing for a chosen few – the price is still your soul. Assistance in exchange to an inquisition type acceptance of the doctrine according to Billy Graham. Heart disease and diabetes slopped onto a prison tray, even if you bow down to the Holy Spirit of Bill Graham, they will still treat you like a derelict [2]. Whether you truly be one or not.

Now they have their brown shirts riding around in golf carts as though the parking lot of the Mission and Ho Chi Minh were the sole property of Billy's. Everyone is a potential target. The only thing that protects me from them, is that they think I am a cop. Seriously? Really? Right?

And now we have a new mayor. Another shill, put up by the agricultural killing machine, AKA – the development industry. And a new City Council. To me, at the very least. I have not spoken to them for quite some time. I was estranged as it were. It was a few years that went by, if I can recollect correctly, but I had to approach them nevertheless.

It's all about freedom. It's all about holding the Pigs of Modesto's Great Camelot at Bay. Yeah, I know. I get frustrated too. I hate having some unshaven, toothless junky blowing their stale alcohol breath on me like a dragon of old.

“Hey. Hey. Buddy, do you got fifty cents?”

“What? You actually think I'm going to give you money? Fuck you, bitch.”

At this point there is a fork in the social and legal road that is ignored by both the media and the Chief Carrol of the Modesto Police Department, AKA lipstick on just another pig. Both from pressure from a City Council that is propped up and placed by what? By what? Developer interests. And what is it they ignore? The rights of an individual to express their need to another. Seriously? Really? Right?

And why is that so important to me? Because I know some things OK? For instance, I know that you may very well be able to wish success upon someone, even if it is someone you have never seen or even been near. Or it could, perhaps, be a large group of people that you may certainly, by all means, wish to be successful. But the success of this is not very successful. We have to deal with reality. And when we deal with reality, it is inevitable that we must talk about opportunity, if we are going to realistically talk about success. Not how much any individual deserves to not be a success.

And what that means, is that a person will inevitably increase their chances of getting their need(s) met by expressing their need to as many people as possible. I also know that there are many more than not that do not spend, nor intend to spend the money or resources they receive on drugs or alcohol. And the most compelling thing that I know is that it is their first amendment constitutional right to do so.

But there is a downside. That fork in the social and legal road that I mentioned. They do not have the right to continually harass or hound an individual that has indicated in any way that could be reasonably understood by the solicitor that they do not wish to yield. Seriously? Really? Right?[3]

That is one of several ordinances that I am attempting to challenge, not in the court of public opinion, but by Civil Disobedient Extortion. And kindness along the way, wrapped up in a big wad of shock value.

Yeah, that's where the real juice is. Right there. At the dais I told them the truth; that I have the solution to homelessness. Love, compassion and understanding. Enough of any one of those would solve any social problem we would ever have. That's just common sense. For those with frontal lobes.

Yes, it had been some time since I had addressed the council or anyone else for that matter, and I knew it was going to have to be orchestrated, professional and as precise as a neurologist's dull scalpel. Seriously? Really? Right?

And just outside is the Modesto Gospel Mission Secret Police, salivating at the thought of intimidating me somehow or getting me to do something simple like leave the premises altogether. But the pull of the golf cart is too much for him and he cannot escape the very idea of racing through the black top of the vacant parking lot with the wind blowing through his hair and the Windsong 1977 commercial soundtrack playing for him in the back ground. What a weirdo. Seriously? Really? Right?

To enjoy the company of an elderly indigent is far more validating than compliments from fake activists or fascist local politicians mistaking me for a Caucasian. The conservation of my saliva alone, makes it all so much grander. It feels as though I should be setting miniature plastic china for an imaginary tea time. Why not? It befalls the wickedly pretentious avows of recovery. Some of which I can now say I have been told by some for four decades. By some, I mean so few, as so many missed many of my tea times. You know, due to sclerosis of the liver and other natural causes of a tragically blind suicide. Quite natural, all the same, as it always is. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Never mind. Just the mutterings of a burned out missionary in my position.

I don't smoke anymore and if even I were to, it would make no difference at five o'clock in the morning, after a hectic night of doubling down on black jacks and splitting tens, raising the ire of my Mom, Chin, AKA – Cinnamon as they call her, I am sure down at the strip club, where she has been having to perform to keep the Vietnamese Refugee Camp operating. Within another hour I would be pulling into Ho Chi Minh and if I were to be early enough, I had an actual refugee to smoke cigarettes with and discuss my many wins, losses and arguments of the previous night that I had with Chin, AKA the Vietnamese Gang Prison Killer.

Those days are a not so distant memory now, as he was shot in the head only to have his wife, also to be shot in the head, not to mention his daughter with down syndrome shot in the head too. I think she was the sole survivor for a few minutes. Just before the Modesto Police Chief, Harden used the entire affair as a photo op. He laughs at the expense of my loved ones getting shot in the head and then gets mad when I make fun of his name in a council meeting. But I'm not bitter. Seriously? Really? Right?

So I have been working on branding myself with an image that is peaceful innocent and pure. It's my new message – Love, Compassion and Understanding. Yes, I have finally succumbed to the subliminal lyrics of an Elvis Costello song. But he was right. And what's more, that sweet girl with down syndrome could tell you that. If they had not shot her in the head. Seriously? Really? Right?

Footnotes, as if you didn't know.

  1. What? Do I have to spell it out to you? Seriously? Really? Right?
  2. If you understand that sentence, than you certainly too, have been inflicted with the generalization disease of this local “community”.
  3. I don't care if you don't agree with me.
  4. You guessed it.

Copyright 2016 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Memories of the Modesto Peace Center by Samuel R. Tyson - A Founding Member

By the time the Peace Center came into being, the Saturday Night Group had all but disappeared when so many people went to Canada.

The remnants were available for the new effort, although it was originally limited to draft counseling. The draft work had been ongoing in an ad hoc sort of manner by individual volunteers. Vietnam took counseling from the theoretical to the hard facts of reality. Lives were very much in jeopardy.

The true organizing work of the 1970s was not by or through the Peace Center with its limited vision. Something different popped up – nuclear power. The proposal to build nuclear energy facilities west of Waterford brought opposition. At various times it became necessary to take on Pacific Gas & Electric, General Electric, Livermore, Turlock Irrigation District and Modesto Irrigation District. It was a new learning experience to perform this service under pressure. Stanislaus Safe Energy then came into existence to block, refute and deny any such facility. Of course Government bodies and the Stanislaus and San Joaquin Farm Bureau were all for it.

For once the Modesto Bee did it – a half page story with pictures of the half dozen activists standing up on the front lines for Safe Energy. Public meetings, Dr. John Gofman speaking, the pancake breakfast a three month Notice of dissenting was created and then the Harvest Supper was started as a second fund raiser. Safe Energy’s last major public event was at the 1987 Stanislaus County Fair of 1987 in the midst of the super conductor-super collider protests. The proponents of this super warfare program were the University of California, Livermore, liberal Democrats, Chambers of Commerce, as usual, the school system and of course Governmental agencies.

In between these events came the farm workers to Modesto, 8000 on foot or car to add to the 1000 or so already at Graceada. Vietnam was over so a lot of energy was now available energy to work on farm worker issues. Gallo was far and above the great villain as a large outfit not interested in being limited by the Farm Worker’s Union. What was Modest to do with such an invasion and with it, its inflammatory possibilities?

Having done crowd control by invitation several times in San Francisco’s anti-war marches, it was an interesting challenge for me. Organizer Chuck Gardenier and I agreed it would be useful to have a non-violent presence on March 1, 1975. Since there had already been joint meetings with the California Highway Patrol, Sheriff deputies of several counties and the Modesto Police Department.  Chuck and I were known to them, to say the least. There had been violence during the march in Merced County recently. So in blue jeans and jacket with a red arm band, I was a presence all along the side to take (block) intersections or along the front as Modesto was cut in half from Gallo to Graceada Park. Holding half of Needham for the crowd, the traffic got real messy, but there was no violence. The Modesto Police backed off and left the crowd to discipline itself.

When the Latin Americas group decided to stage a sit in inside Tony Coehlo’s office during the Nicaraguan Contra imbroglio, I was brought in to do the non-violence organizing. Now with the people ready to sit in, it could be done all at once, a big bang, as it were. It appeared more useful to split into three groups for a  larger impact. So, poor Jane Jackson, who knew many of us, had to be at her desk three days to watch people be arrested. It was not that Coehlo was a poor congressman but as one in a leadership position, more was needed and could have been done to end the conflict.

Whatever organizational skills there may be, it cannot work without other people. Foremost were Howard Washburn and Howard TenBrink who were both there from the beginning at the monthly Fellowship of Reconciliation Meetings. He was in Nevada, Self Help Housing (SHE) (Visalia), Everyman Building, Coehlo’s office and in later years collating the Stanislaus Peace/Life Connections.

Howard Washburn – Rural Life Conference (1940-1950s), first director of SHE (1960s), tax resister at Fresno, Livermore, Vandenburg, who tragically, with much of his family, was killed in an automobile accident. Jake Kirihara (Livingston) SHE board, Livermore, Coehlo’s office, United Technology Middle plant (Merced County).

Mel Harvey was of this breed in Nevada, arrested for leafleting at the IRS in Modesto (I was not ready for arrest, nor was Betty Tillotsoin or Frank Muench), Oakland Induction Center 1967. Mary Harvey upon the Everyman sentencing in 1960, went to Nevada, crossed the line and was arrested,  given 30 days in jail – the only woman in the Tonpah jail (she was on the second floor). These folks were there; open and allowing themselves to be available for joint action over a period of many years.

For its time slot, Safe Energy found Dan Pollack (Ecology Action) a stalwart. Jim Higgs came along in the 1970s but did not break out until the 1980s, with more than one visit to Livermore and Santa Rita.

Involved with the United Technology venture and sit ins at Coehlo’s office – Jim Higgs was a long time Peace Center board member. He could be frustrating, certainly. But he did hang in with Peace Center activities as long as possible.

Kay Barnes, who overcame her military raising to come to look at Peace. For nearly 20 years she did the little things to keep the Center going, as a volunteer. As usual there was little thanks, if any at all.

Not doing in public does not mean the service is worth less. One does not relish the value of such help until it is gone. A venture to Livermore was not her thing. An example of her commitment: When coming out of the Stanislaus County jail for sitting in at Coehlo’s office, I was totally disoriented. It had been a hot day and the air conditioner broke down, leaving the inmates dripping and half clothed.

For once Zane Clark, or whoever was running the place,  arranged for inmates to shower out of regulation. Mine was at midnight, but the cell was crowded, with most inmates on the floor.

The next morning, I was pushed out the door after minimal sleep. But there was my guardian angel, Kay, to transport my carcass to Waterford. Christmas. This was a service more than once was provided at the Choose Life Christmas-blocking at Livermore. My going number there is under 1000 as one of the lags (1960) though they can have 10,000 entices to Santa Rita in a year. No organizer can do it without help.

When one is lucky there are those who can be leaned upon for years.

Those who dare to follow conscience under fear, but refuse to allow it to dominate or paralyze action and are in this sense free.

After exposure to various situations,  there is an esprit which may well appear to be arrogance.

Experience has taught certain lessons. There are probabilities of behavior and results. However, planning based on effectiveness tends to backfire as the means become distorted by the desire.

Results are long term. It is ludicrous to expect change of a useful nature in under five years. Patience is not a virtue much cultivated, because our ego demands satisfaction.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nobody Cares

For several years now, I have been trying to save the world. Seeking my own salvation through the redemption of others, I have ended up with several sociologically dry case study books, a new language and a perspective unique, yet at the same time impaired by my own lack of experience. Experience I will never have. If I am to be so fortunate.

I was a good neighbor. I was a good priest. I was ethical and never once did I wince in the face of danger, manipulation or ridicule in the public square. I gave more than I had to give of my time, money and most of all - my self. I gave everything with a pink bow, emblazoned with gold lettering that spelled out "ACTIVISM".

Activism is a catch-all drawer of a word. It means so many different things to so many different people. For me it was more than a title, it was a condemnation. At the very best, it was a label that gave a clear indication to the community that it was OK for me to be ineffectual in relieving the plight of lesser, undesirable human beings, because I was nothing but shadow to begin with.

I held on tightly to the ideal that matters of life and death were to be taken with the utmost urgency. With the utmost importance. But that particular ideal, as with so many others, had long-since slipped away from the consciousness of the community. Along with any hope of compassion, empathy or understanding. All of these priceless precious things had been exchanged for narcissism and personal "Quality of Life" goals.

I thought that I could bring these ideals back again. I thought that I could surly demonstrate by example passion and devotion to others in such close proximity that it was worthwhile to address the needs of the suffering, whoever they may be. I thought wrong. I was wrong. Its true. You cannot revive a corpse.

In the face of further ridicule, slander and even persecution by my own religion, I write the truth to you now. The truth that no body really cares about anyone else but themselves and with good reason. To care about the plight of another human being is to take that suffering upon yourself, albeit in a different form, but suffering nonetheless.

For all of my valiant and noble effort, I am left with so much reward. A reputation that precedes me everywhere I turn, wrought with falsehoods and lies. I am penniless, unemployable and forever spilled over with suspicion and looked upon as nothing more than a maniacal, bothersome, trouble making dissenter. I am now seen exactly as those I have served - an undesirable human being.

And that is just on the outside. On the inside, my memories haunt my dreams, nearly every night. Filled with horribly unspeakable evil. Gang violence, child abuse to a horrific degree and lonely deaths along the creek's banks, all of which I will never be able to prevent. Now I see their wounds, tears and death states in every moment of my life.

I am nothing but a loser, having thrown my life away because I am so insane, I actually thought that I could lead the lost to reason. I thought I could redeem them somehow. I was wrong.

Now I am nothing but a shell of a man, hoping that my fake confidence will buy me a little more patience with the few friends I even have today.

Even finding solace in the refuge of my original religion has been fraught with misunderstanding and cult-like abuse. Led by a self-proclaiming thug that touts violent tendencies as a badge of honor, he sports the colors that have married me to children's funerals for so long that I have now come to know how inescapable these tragedies are since they are taken so lightly by so many who are protected forever behind the very veil that I myself have provided - "They just don't understand".

My angst over the injustices that have caused me to see so many dead bodies is so fierce and fiery, that it has mentally incapacitated me. I am forever locked in a dungeon of despair and anguish over things I could never have prevented in the first place.

All I can tell you anymore for sure, is that you nave no idea how terrifying and horrible it is out there. All because no one really cares about matters of life and death anymore. All they care about is themselves.

Copyright 2014 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Robert W. Stanford

"The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and goodwill shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee."

Ezekiel 25:17, Pulp Fiction

Along my daily path, by the fork, the chickens have fortified their ranks with bunny rabbits. Now late at night, what at first appears to be leaping cats, are rabbits. At least two dozen encroaching upon the fork and the chickens that reside there. Almost as joyful as the older dogs that bark upon my approach, only to subside at the sound of my voice. “It’s me!”

Of course, it didn’t use to be that way. Literally, years ago, I would leave seething canine ferocity in my wake down every Airport District street I would walk. Not any more, just the occasional bully dogs, we all come across no matter how many of our own shoe prints are etched into the dust which shall never be covered by sidewalks. Now, I leave broken hearts and whimpering in my wake, as so many dogs want me to spend more time than a passing pet and reassurance of what magnificent animals they are. But there is always tomorrow…for me, at least.

Not so much for JD Love, who’s memorial still graffiti’s Oregon Park appropriately for the surrounding neighborhood. Walls that many of us, probably including his own mother, are not looking forward to seeing be re-painted. Despite the murderous numerical references to the CA state penal code - 187...and Norte.

Now he is forever a part of the Modesto Airport District; a part of it’s culture. That is of course, at least until Nazi Joe Muratore, the sixty-two thousand dollar thief finally gets his way and has the entire 1.2 square mile area that comprises the Modesto Airport District razed in favor of a financial shell game to be forever played with outside investors and the actual Modesto City/County airport that separates us in the Airport District from the bordering area between Ceres and Modesto, aptly named, “No Man’s Land”. Two ghettos separated by Lear Jets and caviar. All the while, useless to those that are in reality just like us, is their fork in the road.

Pollo, Polo and Looney were standing outside of the now infamous non-tobacco front shop one day.

And then, just like every other day, dark clouds appeared and commenced engulfing the atmosphere with grief. One of us was missing - Lil’ David.

“Why pollo?”, he softly asked me. “Why did the cops have to lie to her like that? They said that they would protect her. And now look at David.”

Through his tears, it was not that I had nothing to say, but at this point, it would have sounded insensitive and uncaring for the situation at hand. Not because it was a rant against local law enforcement, but rather, because it would sound more like an “I told you so!”. It just really wasn’t the time for another political lecture against the ways of the tyranny that has now befallen us.

All just another piece of scenery stripped away from me, just like animal control always picking up the wrong strays. Or my neighbors that delight in killing my dogs. Taking something away from me that makes the Modesto Airport District a beautiful place to live. Leaving a tragically ended memory in it’s place, with much pretentiousness.

I have found it to be not just the trauma of these murders that take me away to a place of intense and bitter anger, but their repetition. Is this really what I have chosen to do? Watch everyone die, while trying to show them which side of the fork to take instead?

Seems pretty noble, since there has been nothing but sacrifice of every part of my being and rewards that seem rather inedible.

Walking past the fork in the dawn of a new day is quite different than two to three o’clock in the morning. It’s like night and day. No longer are there only the stragglers and scrappers afoot. Now there are the familiar faces. Faces I have greeted more than twenty-four hundred times.

Everyone knows my name, where I am going, what I do, what I eat - everything - with affection - just like David did.

They see in me, something they can depend and rely on - hope. They see hope in me because they have watched my struggle for so many years. They can see now, that the only way I will be leaving them, will be as their own family members leave them - as a murder victim that not even the Modesto Police Department gives a second thought to.

Copyright 2012 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nothing Changes On New Years Day

Don't Forget To Pay For That Donut!
I didn’t see the roosters as I passed by the fork this morning, although a few hours earlier, at about three, roosters could be heard from all around, walking through the Modesto Airport District(1).

It was like they were calling to each other, back and forth in turn. One could almost reach out and touch their grandiose plans of having the Modesto Airport District completely dominated by fowl at the crack of the true dawn. A rooster revolution of sorts. Plotted through their hidden language.

I was so impressed with them, that I have decided to forego any rants that I would care to indulge regarding the avian flu and weak county interventions for personal aviaries of fowl. I will let these brave birds have their hope. Unless the economy doesn’t turn around, at which point I may be charged with chicken rustling.

Yet in the morning, seeing lush fields of chickens starting about their foraging day is just so invigorating on my slight trek to the start of my day. Especially when they are in the street and I start chasing them to and fro across the road. One really has to be aware of traffic when…chicken spotting.

Walking through chalk lines, some real - some imagined, I would think that others like myself would care to take comfort in the luxurious safety of good scenery.

So that in the midst of a dozen, obviously robustly large roosters planning some sort of a…coo - a master plan, if you will, of domination.

Just the energy of being within that interchange, while some guy that lives in what appears to be an RV has an exploding bonfire going in a burning barrel. A different scent every night, or should I say, “every wee morning”.

On some of these wee mornings, he incinerate particles board. Bonfire fuel acquired by chopped up furniture abandoned in another lot made vacant by Strand/Depot(2) type developer arson.

The formaldehyde fills my senses like Testers model glue in a plastic bag. At any moment I begin picturing myself writhing and twirling, while lying perpendicular to and abutted to the gutter of the sidewalk surrounding the county park.

Only the menthol provides any relief. And the coffee.(3)

Coffee acquired at the Vietnamese refuge camp, we are now not suppose to talk about or advertise for. I suppose something came over the wire. Of course all of this information comes from Chin. The one that says I eat like a cat. The one with that birth mark that looks just like a tattoo one would get for killing someone in a Vietnamese prison.

The same tattoo that she didn’t want to talk about anymore(4), not more than just a few morning ago(5) she dared point to it and made some vague reference to the hard life that she endured, trapped in a Vietnamese prison. But one knows that she is safe now in the confines of a Vietnamese refugee camp disguised as the Ye Olde Donute Shoppe.

It’s not a refuge for everyone though. That was finally decided when the latrine was redone in tile and the very best in bathroom fixtures. It must be part of the Asianic cultural reaction to disrespect from a community that completely thrashed the bathroom to the point of necessitating it’s complete replacement. Everything.

“Pollo.” She whispered.(6) “I go into bathroom today and people have sex in there.”

“What? Seriously? That’s horrible. I keep telling you. Just don’t let anybody use it. They can go to Jack in the Box.”, I replied, six years ago. That was before the re-model.

And a year or so after someone committed suicide in the Jack in the Box bathroom. Now they have to “buzz” you in.

Today, on any shift, they refuse no one. Most of the time they don’t have to, since the bathroom is occupied by families shooting up heroin they acquired from just around the corner. It’s so heart warming to see a mother pushing a stroller, accompanied by her older offspring - scurrying into the Jack in the Box bathroom to inject herself with heroin and nod out in a bathroom stall for an hour or so.

“Um, can you buzz me in?”

“Sure, go right ahead.”

That was the same family that approached every single one us, one morning - pimping out her oldest child to panhandle change for his mother’s heroin fix.

“Hey can I use your bathroom? I need to change my baby.” The zombie mother asked Chin.

“You want to use the bathroom? OK. You can use the bathroom. I will go and unlock it for you and you can go use the bathroom.”, Chin chipped into the undead whore of heroin and mother of three.

“SSSS - hey!”, I side whispered to the Mother Teresa of Vietnam.

“What what what is it?”

“Don’t let them use the bathroom.” I silently said, yet ever so sternly, while vigorously shaking my head back and forth.

“Pollo! She needs to change the baby. You can’t expect her to go Jack in the Box. That too far.”

And with that, it was not long until loud knocks were to be heard.

“Hey! What you do in my bathroom?! You need get out now! Pollo. Man. You were right. Why I not listen to you.”, Chin said to me, her hair unusually ratted out as though it had been styled that way, when in reality, it was from the sheer stress of the entire family having locked themselves in the bathroom for nearly five whole minutes now.

“Just give her a few more minutes to finish shooting up and she might be easier to get out.”, I said, as though I were giving report to a general regarding enemy troop alignment.

“Shoot up?! What you mean Pollo?!”

“Nothing. Nothing. Here, I’ll take care of it.”

And with that I was once more overcome by an air of exaggerated over bearing maniacal role play as I cast the family into the cold dampness of the street.

“And stay there….bitch.”

Coming back into my Morelia(7) fold, I am able to fill in half a dozen people with the situation’s past, present and probable future in less than 30 seconds. After all, I have to get to work. I can’t just sit here all day talking about some junky mother shooting up with her kids watching locked up in a bathroom of a Vietnamese Refugee Camp overtaken by Mexicans. Even the Vietnamese refugees have to adapt.

It’s the perfect backdrop for my budding Spanish - Vietnamese refugees aggressively trying to keep dozens of Mexicans at bay with dirty Mexican words screamed with Vietnamese accents. It’s really special when Chin starts waving around her Babe Ruth slugger and threatening to kill everyone if they don’t provide her with enough session money for a Black Oak Casino(8) weekend.

1. For the lone traveler through the internet that may have no interest here….this is a private article. Be gone with you - NOW! To feather dust.
2. Two Modesto, California historical monuments that didn’t have to pass the giggle test of any landmark preservation laws, state or federal due to arson by local developers.
3. Coffee so good, it deserves to be my hook lead in. Keep reading.
4. When they, “arrested the man and the girl”.
5. Or more.
6. Like, “psssst”.
7. A group of approximately 36 rotating Mexican friends, all quickly claiming to be born within an eagles nest at the very top of the tallest mountain in Morelia, Mexico.
8. Actually, it was at Jackson Rancheria Casino that I was accused of eating like a cat. At a buffet, it was. And upon further recollection, it was actually her husband that accused me of that, after seeing my self-made sampler plate with only 3 items from the entire buffet. That’s right. He had to drive us back in my van to the David Bowie’s Low album that night.

Copyright 2012 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dog Day Afternoon

“As it would certainly seem to seem as of late, not so many things are quite as dull as one would most likely prefer. Not here anyway.”
                             Robert Stanford answering any question posed.

There was a time, of course, that walking through the Airport District was a myriad of gunfire and dog barks/bites. Pepper spray was certainly a must have. A quick car and path to the Memorial Emergency Room for pit bull victims (always children). The Grand Am I had at the time, did the job well.

It did not take too much education to make this entire situation subside. Especially in consideration that for the entire County of Stanislaus, the Modesto Airport District had the highest amount of animals sent to the gulags of the Stanislaus County Animal Control (We don’t call it the “humane society” anymore, of course).

And then there was that time, not so long ago, that I lost a pit bull to a kidnapping and then it was used for training a fighting dog, all for the purpose of killing my dog. I think this was some sort of a gang assault against me, but the children that witnessed it said nothing about that per say. Of course, to avoid any legal entanglements like a possible 187 charge for either one of us, I just don’t go there. In any way.

Though I do often use my snitch abilities to report illegal dog breeding and fighting, but it is just not as satisfying as a sawed off shot gun would seem to be.

And of course that’s where it starts. Local feuds and fights over dogs and dog fights. That’s just life in the Modesto Airport District. For pit-bulls and those that love them or use them.

I did not raise mine to fight. But I guess that is all over now, what with the presumptuousness of the tweaked out natives of the Modesto Airport District and their dog-fighting heritage.

Why shouldn’t they have the right to steal my dog and use it for live training bait for a gun-powder fed, hard ran dog raised for nothing more than an illegal activity so many seem to overlook as an infraction here in Stanislaus County?

I was once mauled by four pit-bulls in the street, one morning. Like a pack of demons - lovingly cuddly and soft puppies came out of the middle of nowhere and seduced me into dropping to my knees to embrace them on the side of the road, with the foreboding thought on my mind, “Oh God, now they are all going to be following me.”

And then of course, there was that time I found myself on my knees once more, gently head butting a cat on the sidewalk. I turn my head to notice an MPD officer shaking his head and grinning at me. I would have waved, but that does not go over to well in the area. The affiliation with law enforcement is frowned upon by many, mostly the white residents, such as the multi-generational corn fed speed freaks that kidnapped my dog to feed it to theirs.

But there are enough of them that I have to work with, that I try to keep any type of a law enforcement affiliation on the “down low”. Now that I work out of a bail bonds company in the Modesto Airport District, this problem is fading as well as they are better able to peg me now, as opposed to before, when they were mostly overcome with confusion when I told them that I was not a social worker, but would not describe myself any further than using the words activist, advocate, sponsor, etc.

It’s also one of the primary defense points showing it’s true colors regarding Stanislaus County Sheriff Deputy Investigator Kari Abbey’s falsely received assertions from fringe media, not even pervasive in the community, that under the color of law, she exercised unfair advantages over tenants that lived in this same area. This would be virtually impossible, and as an officer, herself, well known to her, that it would more than likely constitute recklessness to the point of suicide by gang if she was to openly flaunt to her tenants that she was affiliated with law enforcement. But like the rest of the general public, you may not have been aware of that.

I have had countless violent encounters with dogs in the Airport District, generally in the early hours of the morning. It did not take me long to learn that the trick to surviving an attack by an animal, is the ability to appear to that animal to be so menacing that they feel like they would have no chance, thereby running away from you, rather than you running away from them. That and a hot cup of coffee works pretty good too.

The Modesto Airport District as of 2004 through 2005 is mostly comprised of Mexicans now. A much healthier and positive culture than the red-necked corn fed NAZI speed freaks that previously dignified the primary demographic of the Modesto Airport District, no matter how humble their dust-bowl fashioned beginnings may seem to be by any, including myself.

But I still miss my dog.

Copyright 2011 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

When it's Christmas out in Ho Chi Minh

Robert Stanford reporting live, from the Modesto Airport Business District.

Thus the story so far….

So the flower shop across the street has now disbarred me from boutiqing1, I am quite sure. It is a combination of the words “kidnapping” and “extortion” that they cannot seem to get past.

Either that, or the older man of the shop is quite shaken, scared and all the more offended, after I chased after him one day, in a performance designed to dissuade those that would defecate along the back doors of the office. Perhaps it was a mistaken identity, but either way, a shortcut to where again?

But that’s just what happens when you walk out onto the stage of that kind of a reality. You just don’t know what you will find. What you will face. Many assumptions will be made of involuntary necessity of survival. Depending on the situation of course. Or not.

And in the seemingly newly dedicated way, the “Mission District” has set about building up within their few city block domain. King of the homeless problem. Expanding the detox center - new life for good people. Well “Praise the Lord”.

I wanted to get some pictures, but the abatement crew that came to abate the asbestos in the building ruined my best shots. Who do I sue?

Interesting, the struggles the Modesto Union Gospel Mission has endured under the felinity and circumspect attacks of the La Loma Neighborhood Association’s assault upon the homeless in a Melville storyline manner with Mike Moradian at the helm. No matter, though. Just another contestant for the Robert Stanford Local Celebrity Death Pool.

I even have it figured out what I shall stamp in blood red letters across his apple pie face. I was going to use it for Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Kenneth Tam, but thought better to bite my tongue for the time being, in favor of coming back later for Tam with some interactive video of a rape scene from the movie Pulp Fiction. Therefore, I find it comforting and satisfying to use it to brand Mike Moradian’s portrait - FAGGOT.

It would seem that the Voice of Modesto's very own Less Nesman, Emerson Drake, has left the building, never to be heard from again? It’s all hush hush and on the Q-T - like that police report the publisher filed on his laptop and precinct lists. I certainly hope that when I am old and decrepit, that I do not see middle aged men as nothing more than a group of juvenile delinquents that neer do well, not paying attention to me in my poli-sci class. Mindy should really put him in a home now.

And of all days to day. I cannot get the thought out of my mind of carmen, standing there, with the Modesto Bee in one hand and holding his weenie in the other.

Probably because he will be sporting a hot-dog cart at his makeshift Italian diner hustling for votes with party poppers and kazoos - complete with a coned party hat that is just 10 sizes to small for him……’s his birthday after all. Today is the day2.

Of course what do I know, if I were still in the running for mayor, I would probably be selling out gay hot weenies at the Brave Bull trying to makes sure the marriage equality vote knew I was firmly in their corner. I figure they would just go along with the rest. Especially after those weenies. I know Kasey would let me do a Donna Summer DJ session if I showed up in drag. Or not.

Walking around the corner the other day, suddenly everything became unfamiliar and dark as the wind blew about handbills of announcement that only jimson root could tell. And an old lady with large hairs growing from her chin looked up from the cumbersome misused baby stroller and cackled, “How cum yoo not in jaaayle?”

I said nothing. I just kept trying to wake up and then I saw him. The old man that had once been so friendly now peeked up and over at me as he scurried inside to the safety of his building to be warm and protected from two words - “kidnapping” and “extortion”.

To get to the Vietnamese refugee camp or home, I have to cross in front of the Modesto Union Gospel Mission. Tempestuous it is. Once having to walk home from work crippled by my very shoes, I limped across the fresh tarmac, yet stopped midway. I looked down and took off the shoes that tortured me so. As I looked up and over, I saw a young man grinning at me. Or so I thought. I did not have my glasses and he was far too away for me to see. There may have not been anyone there at all.

“You’re quite an interesting character.” The youthfully beaming apparition said to me. Or not.

“Yeah, why is that?” I asked sharply, as though I had several cars to be lubing in Brooklyn, all the while, proceeding to take off my socks.

“You just are. You work at that bail bonds place, don’t you?”

“Why?”, I hissed. “What do you want?”

“Nothin, I just….”, and with that I briskly stormed away from him, unencumbered by ill fitting shoes as though I was born to walk through the Modesto Airport District without fear of neither needle, metal or glass.

Tonight the Brown Shirt NAZI guards of the Modesto Gospel Mission were even farther away. To me it looked as though they were rising up, preparing to shoot me down with .22 cal. pistols and then proceed to call animal control for a “pick up”. Or not.

Maybe they would whisk my body into the building and feed me to the homeless. One could only hope, considering the five million dollars they brought in for the year 2010, the gruel they currently serve those unfortunate enough to have to endure the sacrifice of their very Constitutional rights for a partial portion of a disgusting meal.

Here. You can have mine.

No, no. I’ll be allright (live longer). Cigarette?

Ducking into the safety of the Vietnamese refugee camp, it is in and of itself, the perfect camouflage. The perfect cover. The perfect disguise. Where everyone knows your name. Well, my name at least.

“Pollo. So they away take the man and the girl?”

“Everyone is out now. Yeah. But it’s all political. You know. Like in Vietnam.”

“I not joking now. You need be serious. I worry about you. You be careful.”

“It’s all political. Seriously. Everything is fine - they are lying in the newspaper”

“You want coffee Pollo?”

“Yes, please. You know, I would love some coffee. Some coffee would be great. Thank you. Yes. Coffee. Coffee coffee coffee”

The Vietnamese Refugee camp is on the Yosemite Boulevard, which is just a fancy name for a short stretch of the 132 interstate.

And here, along that interstate in this God Forsaken valley is this place. A place where Vietnamese hospitality is taken advantage of as though it were franchised.

A refuge from the rain, the cold, your problems or the police.

Not from me though.

I saw her grinning twice as wide today, from in the back of the camp, in the kitchen. It was the Den Mother. “Hi Pollo!”. Obviously relieved that I was not arrested and taken to jail along with “the man and the girl”. “You OK?”

“It’s political. It’s all political. You know, like Vietnam.”

“Pollo!” The other one snapped, “We not from Vietnam. We Cambodian.”

“Same thing. I saw Apocolypse Now.” I said smugly, as though I was tossing imaginarily long locks of hair across my other shoulder.

“What? What Pollo?”

“It’s a movie. It’s about the war.”

“Oh, the war. I little girl then. That long time ago. You want donut, Pollo? I give to you.”

“He don’t need more donut. He get fat now!” The Den Mother said, upon coming across to the counter to join us. “You OK?”

“I’m fine. Really. And so are they. This is not what they tell you it is. It is totally different”

“You promise? You don’t want donut? I sorry for what I said. You not fat. You need more more donut!!!”

Our laughter chimed as a reminder to me that everything was meant to be the way it is today, despite how uncertain it might seem all too often. As though there is no use to resist and fight for the preservation of moments such as these. Right Here. Right Now - a refuge. A home. A place free from those that would enslave, imprison and kill us without any recourse to the law for us.

Just like Vietnam.

1. Sorry, it was unspellable.

2. Actually, I wrote that last week. So it’s really not his birthday today. And yes he is still alive. But I got fifty says he won’t make to election - ricket’s - they move fast.

Copyright 2011 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Wish It Were Federal Friday

Written September 16th 2011 a couple of days after Aleo Pontillo and Janelle Llorens were arrested on charges of kidnapping and extortion by a rogue justice system in Stanislaus County

I Wish It Were Federal Friday


Robert W. Stanford

With nothing more than a glance across an empty desk I can see what intricate games she may be in the mood for, seemingly guided by the phases of the moon, they are only random to me when I don’t look up into the night sky to keep track of the astronomically astrological force that guides the ocean’s waves.

Familiarity breeds habits of escape. Especially at a time such as this, as my glace reveals who her real friends are. Me.

We use to sit closer, without the empty desk between us. She didn’t want me to go, nor did I as much care to, yet by the same worry and fret that had caused me to lose track of the paths of the moon, so too did I need to position myself for a secluded power base in the midst of Bad Moon irony.

Trading names like bubble gum cards, ours was the language of twins. Others that listened could not quite understand as we exchanged names, like machine gun fire – the ammunition jacketed in the details of a payment history, telephone record and residency report. Perfectly, we complimented each name by providing the date the other lacked. We had momentum. Ah, that’ synchronicity.

What better job could one have, then be able to work n a environment that is all too easily transformed into a Soho café?

With the chatter of nail paint and quaint experiences wrapped within moments of brief silence, only to be bundled among moments of what to others seemed like some esoteric wordplay – as though two detectives had been working the same case and began to compare notes from memory.

So hedonistic I had become while entrapped in the arrogant elegance that Soho café had offer. And then of course there was that girl. Suddenly she and he were gone. Leaving nothing more than myself and my twin.

We had lost our audience that had never once thought of walking out.

As though an era had ended somehow, it seemed, looking across the aisle, out of habit expecting a glance, or two, yet nothing. There was no one there. So discomforting, and it’s not even Federal Friday yet.

“You’re goin’ down Stanford!!! You’re goin’ down!” he said, his carefully fixed gaze of the board meeting mine. “I’m gonna crush you Stanford.”

Then pushing back a bit into his seat, he lifted his Herculean arms and said, “You’re white man.”

And then a bit louder, “Hey! Dumbass! It’s your move!”

Slowly I relaxed the dramatically acted squint in my eyes, “What?”

“It’s you’re move! C’mon maaan.” Rising his hand half way to his forehead as though he thought he was about to suddenly experience a migraine.

“Oh, ahem. OK. Here we go…” and it was King’s Pawn to King Pawn’s three. All within the motion of moving my piece, his palm began to be rubbed on his leg and become the tell that I was successful in my attempt to at least create an immediate distraction for him. Knowing that he would insist on wanting my attention on the game at least close to what his was. We both wanted a better game and we knew how to get it from each other if for no other reason than it was our one thousandth game.

Such a charming piece in my life it was. Another natural environment that I shall, for all my days, liken to a remote resort. Yet forever haunting me would be the inevitable public perception that I see to this day, is all too real. That rather than fancying myself having vividly inspirational and deep conversation with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it would be more likened to H.G. Wells playing chess with Jack the Ripper, in grand revolutionarily debatable conversation of the siege of the New World Order – for us, as we are increasingly oppressed today by the same Police State as foretold by the most brilliant individuals throughout Americas history, today, the 4th Reich of the United States of America. Nothing more, than a forever burning red, white and blue flag, dipped in chocolate sauce.

And now that Federal Friday has come and gone, no longer do I bear the yoke of that despair. That anticipation of what others may think.

What others think of me is power that they believe they have over me, as well as others. Something to hang over one’s head as it were. Wisdom from the very sandboxes of kindergarten. If you do not believe as they wish, then they will subtly demonstrate the lack of their faith in your moral turpitudes. Birds of a feather and all that, you know.

But I am not so sure that applies to me. No. Not me. I am on the teeter-totter. It is nowhere near the sandbox.

My ride is much wilder.

So I try not play with them and just like unwashed hair, my image begins to look rather “rogue”. Which is OK, since many ultra-conservatives have assured me that they believe in me enough to wait and see if they believe in my cause. There is a God after all, I suppose.

Through the desperation of moments that test the very definition of my courage – many differences of opinion between myself and members of the community quickly dissolve like water into wine. Like darkness into light. The discovery of what is most important, without being so judgmental as to mock God himself.

It all started one morning in the Vietnamese Refugee Camp disguised a  remodeled Winchell’s Donut franchise – Ho Chi Minh.

Since I last wrote about the camp, many confused my reference to our Den Mother, as MA – the top of the Vietnamese food chain gang, borne of the necessity of years of genocidal warfare. The survival of refugees and lard. Having spent time in prison, coming away with a tattoo so crafted from generations upon generations of Vietnamese tattoo artists. So inked that it is disguised as a birth mark, just under her left eye.

A tattoo one gets for killing another in a Vietnamese gulag.

Or so, I delighted in teasing her.

“Oh, Pollo!” she starts out, gathering the other regular’s attention, “Yeah! I take a shiv. I stab him with a shiv, man!”

It’s the same joke told in a different way every day. This day could be heard Spanish translation of what we just said. And then more laughter. As each of the patrons throws out his or her try for a quick line to carry on the joke. Accept for the new customer of course, having not been in there at the 7AM rush, and if they be bold enough to still be there with us, they are nervously clenching their teeth, yet not laughing.

They inevitably do not understand our humor. It belongs to us, after all – They don’t live in the Airport District. It has been steeping for 7 years. The same joke – every day – like so many unfinished crossword puzzles.

The laughter from the half dozen Mexicans lulls the unsuspecting new customers into accepting the reality that this actually is, a remodeled Winchell’s donut franchise and not a Vietnamese refugee camp.

And then the next day everyone read the newspaper or had it read to them.

By a glance across the count, I could tell that Federal Friday had finally come. Chin wasn’t going to play the Vietnamese gulag killing joke today.

It’s just not funny anymore.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pain, Suffering and Families Dying Out From Methamphetamine Abuse In the Modesto Airport District


Robert Stanford

For a sociological perspective, myself and Jorge Perez conducted a tour for the teachers of Modesto’s Johansen High School of the Modesto South Side, Empire1 and the Modesto Airport District.

Jorge Perez explained plainly to the school bus-load of teachers, the recruiting practices of South Side Gangs.

As we sat in the still hours of the morning, that time that the dew is just about completely gone, inside the school bus, pulled up along side the park, Jorge Perez unfolded, in no uncertain terms, the ongoing true reality of gang recruitment, combined with the seriousness of a matador facing off understanding with the Norteno Red Cape as an abrupt wake-up call. “This is where these kids are coming from.”

“Excuse me”, one of the teachers asked, raising her hand as though grandmother’s Kleenex was about to escape the comfort of her sleeve. “Did you say as young as sixth grade?”

Jorge stared from the steps of the forward door of the bus out into the South Side expanse through the back window  and in a surprising undertone answered succinctly and precisely, “Yes”.

“Oh my…” she said, through the fingertips rapidly forming a shield across her mouth to protect the outside world from the  shock waves beginning to ripple through her very being.

All from an experience of sitting where that sixth grader is going to sit while awaiting recruitment. Awaiting to be “jumped in”2 to a Gang to sell drugs for the gang - an instant Prop 21 gang enhancement for the sixth grader, who shouldn‘t have to know any better to begin with.

Of course, she had it well, as I had mistakenly prepared the teacher sitting next to me that this was more of a historical society tour, rather than a tour having really nothing to do with anything more than a dramatically infused experience of demonstrating the potential of youth in the ashes of suffering, pain, violence and death.

Reciting property titles of the local Empyrean bar and admission requirements according to decade, I became so caught up in my own esteem fulfillment of manipulating through over talking her to the point of relating anything that was said to the admission policy and era of the Empyrean bar.

All meant to be a grand platform to explain generational pockets of a 1.2 square mile area4 in which entire families are dying out due to methamphetamine use.

A deadly affliction that entered the family through the mother of invention during the war3. Something that began when their heritage first took up in the Modesto Airport District in the late 1930’s and 1940’s - Fathers absent due to hardships and war left single mothers to care for themselves at a time in which women made approximately half of what their male counterparts made in the local canneries all to support a household comprised of themselves and their children.

Children borne of a time of prosperity in their parent’s lives. Just a couple of years prior to the dust bowl that came to destroy everything they had worked all of their lives for. But those outside of the Airport District had not had the opportunity to see them before they became poor.

To work the double shifts, most of the working single mothers in the Modesto Airport District at this time, resorted to ingesting bennies5 to endure their sixteen to twenty hour shifts in a facility that in the summer, smelted glass and did not have the conveniences of the Gallo glass plant, today.

People from other areas of the town would look down upon these “Arkies and Okies”, calling them, “Down in the Gallos”.

In the 1930’s and 1940’s drug addiction was not widely understood by any means.

Most of the problems with drugs in the area had traditionally been opiate in nature, through opium used in the raw by the Chinese at the turn of the 20th century, to the injection of the plant refined as heroin. Some heroin imported in different formats of purities.6 However, speed was quickly becoming the acceptable drug of choice - “Mother’s little helper”. The one to be used before you completely give up.

Kids being kids, of course learn as they are imprinted in other ways7. Therefore, as these single working mothers adopted a lifestyle with other single working mothers in their “neighborhood” or “District”, as I like to call it, the children they were supporting understood all too clearly that to succeed down in the Gallos, or anywhere else, was to use amphetamines.

And, once again, there was little if any information at the time in any form that would educate them that this was an addictive method, saving their only experience being the likelihood that they would have been able to see after so many generations today what the end result was going to be - that this very drug was going to completely kill off their entire family line. Of course this is 2011 and that was in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.

Mothers and fathers living with their children and grandchildren, with the adults of the household working sixteen to twenty hours a day, down in the Gallos. All strung out on speed if they were old enough to pop the pills.

Especially affected as they were growing up into the Vietnam war and the plethora of drugs that dominated the hyper-epidemic drug phenomena throughout the world. Not that this was a new event, mind you.

And still to this day - families remain. Dying from the habitual use of what social speed freaking has become - Crack and Meth. A white line nightmare. Death. Death. Death. Then nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Nothing but ashes and another generation of children in some instances, yet not in others.

But it was these children that remained which was primarily a part of my concern when it was suggested that one might care to think on those that might be saved in a triage sort of way in the Modesto Airport District.

Both Jorge Perez and I, Robert Stanford, valiantly proposed a single call to action for each teacher on the four hour cruise that day. A call to reach out and show caring. To mentor. Every child needs one.

Due to the jacked-up, white methamphetamine and heroin addicts that comprise a significantly large portion of the Modesto Airport’s demographic, their recent two decade die off combined with the housing foreclosure crisis has been filled with Mexican immigrants with different problems but identical needs.

However, during the migration of the Mexican population which occurred at the same time as the “housing foreclosure crisis”, they became preyed upon by PMZ8 affiliates preaching from the short sale scripture.

Re-Fi men and women in sharp business suits descended upon the historic properties like a plague of unwatched hyenas, luring poodles out into a trap through play, only to feed on the family pet. 

This was perpetuated by such as organizations such as El Concilio that had catered to building bridges between Re-fi cons (real estate agents) and the quickly in fluxing Mexicano immigrant population by taking healthy contributions from Wells Fargo, County Bank and other institutions while allowing Mike Zagaris himself to serve prominently on their board.

Not that Mike Zagaris speaks Spanish, but what business could be had from serving on the board of an organization that simply stated by their own declared charter and mission as a Civil service organization for the Spanish speaking?

Perhaps the same as Steve Madison experiences as serving on the Salvation Army board.

An organization that serves displaced families that have come in floods as though it were another migration similar to that which originally and still fills the Modesto Airport District due to the “housing foreclosure crisis”.

In short, what are quite simply, these displaced families that have worked so hard for nothing?

Steve Madison’s victims. As are anyone that can’t find work today in Stanislaus County.

But Madison will not elude to displaced families, the elderly or the disabled. It’s all about the homeless wino hobo for Steve - those are the only ones we need to care about.

And in the best interests of everyone involved in their existence (or around at the time) is to get rid of them and save yourself the trouble of picking up your own trash (again).

And like the asbestos ridden bricks secretly buried9 in the vacant lot of another bribe to me from down in the Gallos for a “Victory Garden” - what better way to cover your evil deeds and dispose of the soon-to-be bodies but by gifting them to you?  

I had spoke to a sociology class a few years before, in which the spot chosen was not ideal for me due to so many personal experiences of death, pain, suffering, joy, love, sunshine, children laughing, etc. for so long in Oregon park.

Yet at the time I just found myself there - words came quite easily to me then, as I was speaking in public at the very least a half dozen times every week and sometimes many more.

Not this time though. All I could think of was homicide. I felt that I had completely failed at what I was trying to accomplish by allowing myself to show that I was certainly not as emotionally detached from my cause as I should have been. For an overtly macho and non-effeminate male, such as I, it was quite an embarrassing episode.

Feedback that I received showed otherwise, however11

As it was with the sociology class before, though, so it was here once again as we arrived and began to pull up to Oregon park.

Jorge Perez introduced me as though I was the king of the Modesto Airport District, which I have no choice but to agree with, certainly having paid prices here no one else has, he still left me with quite large shoes to fill in my presentation.

A presentation I had not prepared for.

Rather, I had inadvertently wasted any preparation time that I had once possessed10 by trying to seduce the teacher sitting next to me into becoming fixated upon my historical observations of the die off occurring to the white population, that at one time, to a greater extent than now, dominated the demographics of the Modesto Airport District. But due their untimely methamphetamine fueled deaths - not any more.

Once again, I was overtaken by those things that men should never do. God’s mistakes, if you will. The tears brought by memories of joys intertwined with the most horrible of imaginable tragedies.

I thought, also once again, that I had failed, being unable to remember anything that I had said, due to having been overcome with the vapors of my own scarring emotions.

I asked the coordinator of the ghetto field trip, what she thought in a practically apologizing manner12.

To which she succinctly and surprisingly simply answered, “No, God that was great! I even wrote down what you said.

You said, “You can change someone’s life if you just show them you care.”

1. (Empire - out Interstate 132 toward the direction of what was once thought of to be Paradise, until it burned down by the power of the railroad and wheat Nero’s of the Stanislaus day. {Google this: PMZ Agricultural Heritage Killing Machine})

2. Jumped in - Usually in the Modesto South Side as well as other areas of gang influence, jumping in means to be severely beaten by several other “gangsters” for permanent initiation into the gang. The price of leaving ever, being that of death.


4. The Modesto Airport District

5. Prescription speed in table form. I.e. Cross Tops, later to come robin eggs and black beauties - speed.

6. And it was these formats of purities which changed somewhat the alignment of their ruling planets based on ingredients that may or may not have been added to the substance as a “cut” - (an ingredient to increase the drugs weight for sale) with it - but this is an entirely different topic of astrological drug recovery - similar to acupuncture in method and theory, except more “astronomical” from a Western imprinted human mind‘s perspective.

7. Hope you read the foot note, or you shall not be able to experience the brevity of the sentence that this footnote refers to.

8. PMZ - Petrulakis, Madison and Zagaris - The Overlords of the City of Modesto. What are they in all reality? Answer: Strip Miners.

9. Like so many forgotten septic tanks of 1968 through 1972 as the City of Modesto “sewered up”. KABOOM!!!! {someday - you watch!}

10. If one can actually possess such a thing.


12. Just in case, since I could not remember anything that I had said.

Copyright 2011 Robert Stanford all rights reserved.