PETER’S POOP PATROL: They call him “Peter Wilcox,” and for the past nine years, he’s made daily forays into the former Wilcox property to collect bags of glass and dog doo. On Monday, Sue and I walked the Douglas Family Preserve trails and poked into the “party tree” in a secluded nook with genial Mesa resident Peter Newendorp as he spotted clumps of pooch poop and bags of the stuff abandoned by thoughtless dog owners. Along for the walk was his Lab, Clancy.
Newendorp figures that over the years he’s picked up “over 100,000 pieces of glass,” mostly left from the former Wilcox nursery that closed many years ago, along with a daily harvest of poop, cigarette butts, beer cans, and other trash. On a typical late-afternoon stroll, he’ll pick up around 15 pieces of canine crap and four or five plastic bags of the stuff. “I’m sure people intend to pick them up” on the way home, he said, but for one reason or another, they don’t. Other bags are just tossed in the bushes. “What gets me is that I find poop around 15 feet from a garbage can,” said Newendorp, a tall man of 63. Another regular on cleanup patrol is a woman he only knows as Vicki. “She has a couple of dogs and is a nice lady,” he explained.
“Conditions are better than they were once,” he said. “People are more conscious of it now.” And the park smells better, I noticed.
BOYS IN THE BACK ROOM: The way I figure it, a bunch of the boys were sitting around in the back room at the U.S. Supreme Court, maybe knocking back a few martinis, and trying to one-up one another with outrageous, can-you-top-this decisions. That was tough, because they’d already strained all manner of legal logic, slamming precedent after precedent with 5-4 votes.
Then, maybe it was Justice Antonin Scalia who came up with a knee-slapper that had them all bamboozled: “How about if we ruled that corporations are people, and we overruled the ban on their political spending?”
“You mean, corporations are persons?” someone asked.
“You betcha, and we’ll give them the right to sock their billions into political campaigns. They should have free-speech rights.”
“But can inanimate objects like companies really speak?”
“They can if we say so. Do you know how many PR flacks, lawyers, and lobbyists they have, yacking and arm twisting? Besides, the Supreme Court is veto proof.”
“But if we do that, big business will be using big bucks for selfish purposes. Besides, do they really need any help? Look at what’s already going on. GE made $5 billion this year, paid zero taxes, and also claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion.”
“I don’t know,” someone chimed in. “Some folks are already protesting that one percent of Americans are grabbing the lion’s share of income, leaving the scraps to the 99 percent. Pretty soon we’ll have those 99-percenters demonstrating in the streets.”
“So what? Don’t forget, the Supreme Court works for the one percent.”
Anyway, that’s my imaginary scenario for the U.S. Supreme Court’s real-life 5-4 vote last year to overrule two precedents and lift the ban on corporate political spending. And sure enough, people are in the streets, mad as hell, and not willing to take it anymore. One woman was photographed holding a sign: “I Won’t Believe Corporations Are People Until Texas Executes One.”
DOWNTOWN CATS: In the downtown quasi-canyons of East Figueroa Street, Suzanne Evanski noticed “these amazing sparkly eyes” belonging to a cat living in a parking lot. Soon, other women working nearby began befriending the kitty. “We all kind of chipped in,” said art gallery owner Diane Waterhouse. The cat turned out to be a pure-bred savannah, spotted with large ears. This went on for about six months, until a lady cat chanced by. “I guess they fell in love,” Suzanne told me.
Kittens soon arrived, then disappeared. Suzanne adopted the female tabby, “Ansel,” and took the male to the Humane Society. There, folks discovered an implanted ID chip showing that he was owned by a woman living temporarily on APS. He’d been missing for nine months and the owner was heartbroken by the loss and was due to return home to the East Coast in days. When Suzanne told her the good news, “She was crying on the phone.”