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Bernstein With a Twist http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio.php?a=4 Copyright Inland Empire News Radio - For Personal Use Only en-us Bernstein With a Twist Bernstein With a Twist. More podcasts at http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio.php. Inland Empire News Radio Inland Empire,News,Newscast,Summary,Riverside,San Bernardino,California http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/images/podcast/s4.jpg Bernstein With a Twist http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio.php?a=4 no info@inlandnewstoday.com Inland Empire News Radio Bernstein With a Twist If you get bogged down reading about ‘transparency’, conflicts of interest or the difference between what’s legal and what’s ethical, columnist Dan Bernstein has found the key to getting an ethics certificate. Fri, 24 Jul 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e171.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:50 Bernstein With a Twist I sold my pregnant roller skate.

That's what a photographer named it…

It was a Subaru 360 (circa 1968 or something). A yellow, two-stroke engine of a "car" that made a VW bug look like a Hummer. Now, after 33 years, it's gone.

I bought the Soob when I moved to Riverside in '76. I was a 20-something reporter. My wife was unemployed. We needed a second (cheap) car. We snapped up the used Soob (16K miles) for $700.

It was so tiny it parked on a dime. It got 25 mpg, not bad three decades ago. It was cute with a shaggy dog in the back seat.
Fri, 19 Jun 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e164.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:28
Bernstein With a Twist The right slingers are hurling high heat at Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

The lefties have come out smokin' in the judge's defense.

We're in for another summertime political picnic. But this nominee is different from any other. I'm in her corner all the way. Even at the risk of crossing the line -- or is it just the oxymoron? -- of journalistic ethics, I can't sit by as a thumb-twiddling bystander.

Take a look at the Supreme Court nine. Powerful line-up? Mostly. A complete roster? Not even close. The new nominee will rectify that, and it's about time. Judge Sotomayor and I belong to an under-represented minority. I'm thrilled I will finally have a voice on the highest court in the land.
Fri, 12 Jun 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e162.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:14
Bernstein With a Twist GM in bankruptcy. California’s poised to slash $24 billion.

Everything’s on the table. So I was hardly surprised when “an interested reader” suggested Riverside re-think plans to demolish the Main Library and build a new one.

Re-think? How? Relocate Old Main to a boxy fortress with plenty of parking: the soon-to-be-empty Gottschalks in Riverside Plaza.

Abandon plans for the new downtown library for which so many have fought so hard? How far away are we, anyway?

Well, the city says we’d have to raise $55 million at the ballot box.

Would a two-thirds majority of Riversiders boost property taxes after taking a property value drubbing? The words “slam dunk” don’t leap to mind.

Would it be inane to contemplate a back-up plan to a $40-to-$50 million library?

Not in the eyes of our interested reader.
Fri, 5 Jun 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e160.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:22
Bernstein With a Twist Been awhile since we’ve taken a hard look at some of the most pressing issues of the day. But now that President Obama has sailed (or stumbled) past 100 days, there is some clarity on the political landscape. Fri, 29 May 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e158.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:36 Bernstein With a Twist Latest Inland Empire and Southern California news Tue, 12 May 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e155.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:14 Bernstein With a Twist About a year ago, as Old Town Temecula Community Theater prepared to host a charity performance of “The Vagina Monologues”, the Temecula City Council found itself befuddled by the concept of “community standards”.

Was this 2008 Valentine’s Day production (proceeds to combat violence against women) obscene, as contended by a handful of citizens? (One protester later poured dirty water into clean water, demonstrating how the play had morally polluted the city.)

It was not clear that a single council member had ever seen the production. But it may have be come clear that to declare it obscene would have required some fine tuning of the Bill of Rights.

The show not only went on, but returned for Valentine’s Day 2009, with no further exhibition of council befuddlement.

If this suggests a new strain of tolerance (or perhaps resignation) has been released into Temeculan culture, there is now even further evidence of this outbreak: a Traveling Bra Show.
Fri, 8 May 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e154.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:59
Bernstein With a Twist Fresh from the Riverside Poly Class of ’57, Shirley Quarto wanted to be an airline stewardess.

But her dad urged her to apply for a job at a new department store. On Sept. 30, 1957, when Harris’ opened its doors at the new Riverside Plaza, there was Shirley, barely 18, working in the “hankie department” for $1.01 per hour.

This summer, the store now known as Gottschalks’, will liquidate forever. Shirley, now 70 today, will say good-bye to the only place she has worked for nearly 52 years.

Things were a bit different when the young saleslady first broke in.

“We had to wear hats, gloves, girdles, whether we needed them or not,” she told me.

Today’s dress code? “No cleavage and no sneakers.”
Fri, 1 May 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e151.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:37
Bernstein With a Twist I’m not saying I don’t have a life, but I did spend four hours in (what’s the term?) record shattering heat watching professional beach volleyball in Riverside’s instant downtown sand box.

It was the least I could have done after being less than kind to a spectacle I’d only witnessed through the miracle of television.
Fri, 24 Apr 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e148.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:34
Bernstein With a Twist I’m not saying I don’t have a life, but I did spend four hours in (what’s the term?) record shattering heat watching professional beach volleyball in Riverside’s instant downtown sand box.

It was the least I could have done after being less than kind to a spectacle I’d only witnessed through the miracle of television.
Fri, 24 Apr 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e149.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:34
Bernstein With a Twist I wish I had a thing for Lady GaGa.

Never mind I'd never heard of her until a few days ago.

All I know is if I had a thing for Lady GaGa, I'd get on the iTunes site and buy "Poker Face" for a buck twenty-nine.

Just like that, I'd be cool. I'd be hip. I'd be bad. Because I would have paid Apple's top-tier price for a hot-selling song. What could possibly be more validating than to pay the world's top music store top dollar for a chart-topping tune?

But I don't have a thing for Lady GaGa, Coldplay, Fall Out Boy or, believe it or not, Audioslave. I don't qualify for iTunes' top-tier rates.

Some of you may be smirking: "This guy has an iPod?" As if there should be a background check to prevent anyone in the low-tier crowd from owning such a device.

Yes, I have one. I'm an iTunes customer. I'm just no longer a valued customer.
Fri, 17 Apr 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e146.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:20
Bernstein With a Twist She touched the queen! First, she dug up the White House lawn and planted a garden. Then, she went over to England and touched the queen!

I never thought Michelle Obama would make Hillary Clinton look like Mamie Eisenhower. But that’s audacity for you.

Good thing, too. I like the first lady’s style. So, evidently, does the queen. (I hear she touched Michelle first!) That’s the extent of my knowledge about protocol.

I’m much more knowledgeable, or excited, anyway, about the White House vegetable garden. For the most part, I think it has been very well thought out.

Take beets. The president hates ’em. I hate them. There will be no beets. I think Mrs. Obama came down on the right side of beets.

This garden will be planted in prime, not sub prime, soil. Based on a top-secret diagram posted online, it will have a variety of lettuce, spinach, peas, kale, collards, onions, carrots, rhubarb and many herbs, but not Hoover. In yet another reversal of Bush policies, the garden will have broccoli.
Fri, 10 Apr 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e144.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:23
Bernstein With a Twist Latest Inland Empire and Southern California news Tue, 7 Apr 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e143.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:50 Bernstein With a Twist The tan overstuffed sofa in the self-storage office has become what Crystal Valenzuela calls “a therapist’s couch”.

This is where customers sit and tell the young office manager about the parts of their lives they have had left behind in a StorQuest rental unit situated near the Riverside-Corona border.

They tell Crystal about their children’s photo albums, their kids’ bikes.

Crystal listens as they tell her about “the sheriff’s knock at their doors.” She listens as if she has welcomed them into her living room and invited them to sit a while on her couch.

I phoned Crystal’s office at random after I began noticing the fine print tucked into the reams of foreclosure ads: notices of storage-unit auctions. People who couldn’t pay the rent were losing their possessions.

We had a story about this late last year. Area auctioneers said the delinquent storage-unit business was up. As I made my calls, I got a slightly different take: Storage-unit auctions are normal, even in good times. But the storage business is really buzzing because units are filling up, not because their contents are being auctioned off.
Fri, 3 Apr 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e141.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:15
Bernstein With a Twist When talk turns to the mass production of crooked public officials, San Bernardino County's No. 1 durable good (and bad), people ask how this county ever became so deeply immersed in a "culture of corruption."

The blame can be laid at the decomposed feet of Francisco Dumetz. Dumetz was born in Spain and became a Franciscan missionary. The critical date of local concern is May 20, 1810, when he dubbed the Inland area he was visiting "San Bernardino."

Back then, it seemed entirely appropriate. May 20 happened to be the Feast of St. Bernardine of Siena, the great 15th century Italian preacher. Forty-three years later, "San Bernardino County" was born, which seemed fitting, too. But there was trouble ahead.

San Bernardino County public officials have never been able to live up to the stature of their county's namesake. Bernardine wasn't like these guys.

Oh, he loved to preach, so maybe he did have a little politician in him. But Bernardine was a straight arrow, denouncing everything from gambling to usury to various forms of vanity, especially as evidenced by dress and social behavior. His sermons featured actual "bonfires of vanities," where people burned "objects of temptation."

So, no, Bernardine wasn't the type who'd ever be accused of accepting a $12,000 Rolex and coast-to-coast travel from a developer, and failing to report it. No one ever charged him with possession of meth or destroying public records. Or taking a bribe. If he ever met a prostitute, it's not hard to imagine what he would have told her: "Stop it."

In short, Bernardine, later St. Bernardine, never could have been elected to public office in the county that bears his name.
Fri, 27 Mar 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e139.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:16
Bernstein With a Twist A woman walks into a bar. (Stop me if you’ve heard this.)

She thinks it’s a gold bar. It’s really brass. How much did it cost her to discover the difference?

Five thousand clams!

That’s the punch line of our story about the 26-year-old Murrieta mark, I mean, young woman, who was scammed outside a Wal-Mart:

A fifty-ish woman asked the mark for directions to a jewelry store. Said she wanted to sell three gold bars. A male “stranger” joined in and volunteered to dash to Wal-Mart’s jewelry counter to have the gold appraised. (If I wanted to get a hunka-hunka gold appraised, that’s the first place I’d go, too.)

Upon his return, the gent told the women the gold bars were worth $12K each. But our Murrieta mark was offered the chance to buy one (just one!) for $5,000.

The needle on her greed-o-meter must have veered to the red zone. She bellied up to the bar and parted with her money, cash! only to learn she had become the proud owner of polished brass. (Might make a right fine trombone.)

I bet most readers (moi included) shook their heads and clucked, “How could she fall for something like that?”

Then I thought about all the smart people who fell for those too-good-to-be-true mortgages, zero down, interest only, something for nothing, pop goes the balloon.

Then I thought about all the smart people who ponied up billions for Madoff Madness, licking their chops at the prospect of reaping non-stop double-digit returns on their investments.

Then I thought about those AIG rogues and their $165 million in “performance” bonuses. (Yeah, I know. Those folks don’t quite fit the pattern because right now it looks like their greed is paying dividends!)

It doesn’t take an SAT question to figure out that there’s a common thread that runs from the sidewalks of Wal-Mart to the skyscrapers of Wall Street.

Some might dispute the premise that, “Greed is Good”. But no one can deny it’s alive and well and (except for AIG execs and their ilk) worth its weight in brass.
Fri, 20 Mar 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e137.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:02
Bernstein With a Twist I have this friend who’s gung-ho about bipartisanship.

He thinks there’s too much bickering in Washington and everywhere else.

With him, the answer to everything is bipartisanship this and bipartisanship that.

He almost sold me on the idea. Then I heard about the latest high-tech gizmo. I ran over to his office to inform him that his dream of bipartisanship is all but dead.

"Wait till I tell you about the latest personal communication device!"

"What's a personal communication device?"

"Dude, it's a phone."

"So why don't you call it a phone?"

"Because it's so much more."

"What is?"

"The latest personal communication device!"

"Out with it already."

"All right, all right. Even you've heard of the iPod, right?"

"Hard to believe, but yes."

"And the iPhone?"

"Of course."

"Ready for the next big thing?"

"You really know how to draw out the suspense."

"The iPartisan!"
Fri, 13 Mar 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e135.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:13
Bernstein With a Twist Shirley Boutin has certainly been around the block.

“I’m 86 years old,” she e-mailed, “and have bought several houses over the years.”

Which, in my book, qualifies the Riversider to pose a couple of questions: “Please tell me who is insane?” And, “Who cut this caper?”

Shirley had just read our story about the century old California bungalow that has been moved to spacious Magnolia Avenue, on a corner formerly occupied by the mom ‘n’ pop known as the Kawa Market.

This city-owned house will be fixed and sold to a moderate-income family. Should be ready by May.

What’s so insane about that? Wait till you hear the numbers.

Some neighbors loved the Kawa Market. Others thought it was a magnet for unsavory characters. Two years ago, the city bought the market and house behind it for $653K, then spent $61,500 for demolition and fees.

Just recently, the city agreed to pay a contractor at least $385,000 and no more than $443,00 to fix the bungalow.

Riverside will spend at least $1.1 million to get one house ready for sale.
Fri, 6 Mar 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e133.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:59
Bernstein With a Twist My heart goes out to RivCo supes John Tavaglione and Marion Ashley, charter members of the $50K Klub.

As reported in Tuesday's P-E, Tavaglione has a $54,000 car (compliments of the taxpayers) loaded with junk he doesn't even want! And Ashley got a $53,000 Toyota Highlander Hybrid (compliments of the taxpayers) because, well, he appears to be the state's only homeless county supervisor.

"I live in this car," he declared. That explains the heated leather seats.

All Tavaglione wanted was a simple four-wheel drive SUV so he could navigate his district's dirt roads in luxury instead of borrowing a county truck. And he wanted a trailer hitch so he could pull the occasional distressed constituent out of a ditch. ("Help is on the way, Captain Considine!"). Instead, he got the works.

"I made it clear that I did not want the DVD (player)," he told the P-E. "But there was no choice." They held him down and force fed him like a goose. He fought back with Seussian ferocity.

I do not want that DVD

I do not want it, can't you see?

I will not take it, I might sue

I'll hold my breath till I turn blue!

But he's only a supervisor. His hands were tied. They weighed him down with a sunroof, Bose speakers and lousy mileage! What could he do? Send his 2009 Yukon back to Purchasing? Demand (obscene word alert) a minivan to squire his staff around rugged Rubidoux?
Fri, 27 Feb 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e131.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:02
Bernstein With a Twist Sad times in the Magic Kingdom. Shrinking attendance and revenue is forcing the Disney Co. to restructure its parks and resorts and cut jobs.

You’d think that, even in a worldwide global economic collapse. Some places would be off limits. Safe. Exempt.

Like the Seven Wonders of the World. Those seem largely unaffected. I googled Stonehenge and it still looks pretty good.

The Coliseum, not the one that’s always looking for a pro football team, but the one where the gladiators used to go at it, is still essentially in one piece.

I read one estimate that 500,000 people and more than 1 million wild animals are thought to have died in the Coliseum. But it still looks better than some of the hardest hit subdivisions in Riverside County.

Even the Leaning Tower of California Pisa is holding up. Still leaning, but these days who isn’t?

So yes, many of these wonders seem to be recession, or should I say depression, proof.

But some of our other more modern wonders, or icons, to use a word that, along with diva, should be retired to the Pyramids, are having a devil of a time.

I’ve obtained an internal memo that makes it clear nobody at the Magic Kingdom is safe.
Fri, 20 Feb 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e130.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:03
Bernstein With a Twist When pro volleyball rolls into Riverside on a wave of 1,500 tons of sand, the city’s ancient mantra will be muted. We will no longer be an hour from the beaches. We will be the beaches.

It’s becoming a pattern for the “City of the Arts” or the “City of Trees” or whatever we are: Searching for an identity, by committing identity theft.

We junked the Orange Blossom Festival, which, despite the gangs and schlock city officials were unable or unwilling to control, at least was rooted in Riverside ’s citrus heritage. Now, we import ice (for skating) in the winter and sand in the spring. Who are we? And how did the Association of Volleyball Professionals pick Riverside to stage its beach volleyball tournament in April?

Councilman Rusty Bailey played on the West Point volleyball team. When a teammate moved to California to become a big AVP cheese, Bailey started prodding. Eventually, his dogged pitch worked.

In mid-April, the parking lot near the downtown Marriott will become the world’s largest sand trap (no cats allowed!), with bleacher seating for 3,000 and possibly a TV audience. The city’s up-front money is nominal (so far) and rosy City Hall economists forecast a tourist boom and the dollars that go with it.

Sounds like good, clean fun, except for one thing: Beach volleyball is excruciatingly dull, registering so low on the Excitability Index that even healthy spectators have been known to stop breathing. In extreme cases, watching beach volleyball can result in what medical experts call a “non-surgical vollobotomy”.
Fri, 13 Feb 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e127.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:06
Bernstein With a Twist I don’t want to get anybody’s hopes up, but I may have stumbled across the cure to California’s budget paralysis: science.

Putting an end to this knuckle-headed Sacto-drama can’t happen too soon. The hapless Debtinator, so-called legislative “leaders” and the remaining flock of back benchers, several of whom “represent” the Empire, may have already pushed us off the cliff. The budget gap is $42 billion. They do nothing.

GOP legislators have stopped rooming together, fearing they’ll be targeted in the next election if they’re caught talking about raising taxes. In their sleep!

Democrats are hearing it from the unions: Don’t cave to sinister GOP attempts to change workplace rules governing breaks and overtime. I almost feel sorry for legislators when this subject comes up. What do they know about breaks and overtime? They don’t work!

(Wait! This actual news release just in: The California Senate recognized both National Engineers Week and National Surveyors Week with separate resolutions on Thursday. Sen. John Benoit, R-Bermuda Dunes, presented SR 11, a resolution recognizing National Surveyors Week while Sen. Alex Padilla, D-San Fernando, presented SR 10 to recognize National Engineers Week. Both resolutions passed unanimously. They do work! I stand corrected.)
Fri, 6 Feb 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e125.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:21
Bernstein With a Twist By now, many of you have committed your resolutions to writing and are resolutely working your way down the list.

Stop. Tear up that list!

A new scientific study shows that lists cause stress, heightened anxiety, frustration and periodic bouts of acute crabbiness.

This 35-year study closely followed two subjects: The control group (me) has never made lists. The out-of-control group (my wife) has never stopped making lists.

Based on my findings, the next surgeon general should immediately issue a warning about the hazards of list making. Not only for the list maker. Second-hand list making is just as dangerous.
Fri, 30 Jan 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e123.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:08
Bernstein With a Twist The inauguration is over. Now the hard work begins. Riverside County Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack knows it’ll be a steep climb for her and other vastly outnumbered congressional Republicans. She says the GOP’s mood has been “like a washing machine of soul searching.”

Wow! I knew Mary had a hit lyric in her. All those years with Sonny I just didn’t know it would be a country-western lament.

So mute the TV, summon the neighborhood coyotes and imagine your favorite Republican twanging into country-western song as we belt out: “I’m in a Washing Machine of Soul Searching and It’s a Mighty Heavy Load.”
Fri, 23 Jan 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e121.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:55
Bernstein With a Twist I see that Raymond Oyler is finally going to be tried.

They’re picking the jury and the Riverside County DA is fleshing out the case against the erstwhile Beaumont mechanic, who’s accused of murder and setting scores of fires, including the 2006 Esperanza inferno that killed five firefighters. Oyler could get the death penalty.

This is a high-profile case. So it’s no surprise that a bunch of demonstrators showed up at the courthouse Tuesday and heard a prosecutor declare this was “a heinous crime and we take these charges very seriously.”

Except the demonstrators and prosecutor weren’t even thinking about Oyler and the firefighters. As one placard put it, they were seeking “Justice for Karley”.

Karley is the Woodcrest puppy that had to be put down after Glynn Johnson, an LA County assistant fire chief, allegedly smashed her with a rock. Johnson says it was self-defense. He pleaded not guilty to animal cruelty.

It would be quite a stretch, wouldn’t it? to maintain that human beings are less concerned about tragedies that befall their fellow man (or woman) than they are about calamities that befall their pets. Yet, on this day, it wasn’t the fallen firefighters, but a puppy, or what she stood for, that drew the courthouse crowd.
Fri, 16 Jan 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e119.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:05
Bernstein With a Twist Even people who don’t have the guts to check out their 401Ks must be a little curious about what’s in store for 2009. Luckily, I just bought a crystal ball (marked down to $1.37) on eBay.

Unable to reach a budget deal, California will close schools and universities, furlough employees, issue worthless IOUs, dissolve the Legislature and the Office of the Governor, file for bankruptcy and reorganize under Chapter 11 of the Indian Gaming Law.

Riverside County will experience a mild economic boomlet when the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa becomes the state capital.

Republican legislators who held fast to their “no-tax” pledge will be immortalized by a consortium of prominent out-of-work California taxidermists.

Barack Obama and Ehud Barak will bag a barracuda near a barracks.

Reversing their decision to spend $126 million on Casa de Cuddles, RivCo supes will buy the Ramona Bowl and convert it to an outdoor DA headquarters. In exchange for providing the DA with a spacious hillside office and a county horse, the supes will retain the right to produce a modern version of “Ramona” depicting the star-crossed relationship between Bob Buster and John Tavaglione.

Pursuant to the terms of the federal bailout, General Motors will be busted to Corporal Motors.
Fri, 9 Jan 2009 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e117.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:11
Bernstein With a Twist By the time RivCo Chief Deputy Sheriff Steve Thetford returned my call one morning last month, a “tank” housing 96 male inmates at the Banning jail had been without heat for five nights.

During that Wednesday-Sunday span, overnight Banning temps had plunged into the low 30s and high 20s. The 96 inmates at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility had been given extra clothes and blankets. Period.

I had called the Sheriff’s Department after receiving an e-mail:

“How inhuman…the Larry D Smith Correctional Facility SNOWING with 28 degree weather and no HEAT… Might as well throw whole bunch of animals out in the freezer and let them freeze, cuz thats whats happening at this facility. How INHUMAN is this?”

Five nights without heat as the repair crew tried to get the right part.

When I asked Chief Deputy Thetford, the man in charge of Sheriff’s Department “building facilities”, why he didn’t bring in portable heating units, his answer was chilling.

“Excellent question. I wasn’t aware of this before this morning.”

That’s right. He’d only heard about it shortly before he called me. He was getting ready to head out to Banning to see this mess first-hand.

“I’m not too happy,” he said.
Wed, 31 Dec 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e115.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:11
Bernstein With a Twist ‘I’m sorry to tell you this,” e-mailed OpenWheelFan, “but your friend was taken in on a con that defrauded Home Depot.”

Tim Whitton’s phone message framed it much differently: “I just feel terrible for that guy who I feel your friend cheated.”

But Danuta Tuszynska found a recent column “heartbreaking. So much sadness… I’m glad you wrote about it even though it’s hard to read.”

The column described a mid-November encounter between a Riverside woman I’ve known for years and a stranger she met at Home Depot.

The clean-cut middle-aged man told her he needed money to feed his kids and offered to pay for her ceiling fans with credits accrued on his Home Depot cards. She would pay him back in cash. He’d give her a 25 percent discount.

She was wary, even scared, but agreed because of the guy’s kids. He paid for the fans. She owed him $360 (after the discount), but could only come up with $320. He took the money, telling her once again that he had to feed his kids.

That was the story, a bare bones sketch of a meeting between two strangers against the back drop of a failing economy.

The woman, she asked that her name not be used, told a compelling story. But what intrigued me even more is how readers looked at the identical sketch and colored in the spaces to produce starkly different portraits.

The results seem to reflect the individual “artist’s” values, high (or low) opinion of human nature, wariness and suspicion and perhaps experiences in everyday life.
Wed, 24 Dec 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e113.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:07
Bernstein With a Twist Dan’s musical contribution to Christmas as he whistles his way to happiness. Fri, 19 Dec 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e111.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:05 Bernstein With a Twist These are tough times if you’re not a numbers guy.

But even I couldn’t help noticing that Bank of America, which recently came into $25 billion (in guess whose money), has parted with a piddling $1.3 million to end a sit-in by illegally fired workers in Chicago.

You really don’t have to be a numbers guy to figure out that the “haves”, there’s no other way to describe them, were playing with fire when 200 employees of Republic Windows & Doors holed-up in their factory and wouldn’t come out.

“Although we are a lender with no obligation to pay Republic’s employees,” began the B of A statement…

Anyone care to complete that sentence? A phrase about avoiding civil unrest might be appropriate. Or rioting in the streets. Or maybe just a mild retort to the bank having no obligation:

“Oh yes you do!”

What did you plan to do with our loot? Hoard it?
Fri, 12 Dec 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e109.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:07
Bernstein With a Twist Latest Inland Empire and Southern California news Tue, 9 Dec 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e108.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:59 Bernstein With a Twist I can’t let Thanksgiving 2008 fade into history without retelling my favorite, most heart-warming Thanksgiving story:

Kindergarteners celebrating genocide.

We take you to Claremont, where a platoon of politically correct parents, including a UCR professor, put a stop to a Thanksgiving celebration.

You won't believe what kids at two elementary schools have been up to. Kindergarteners at one school dress up as Pilgrims. Kids at the other as Indians. These are handmade costumes. Crafted from construction paper. Maybe a real feather or two.

Then kids from one school visit the other school for a Thanksgiving feast. The next year, they trade roles and schools. How long has this been going on? Forty years!

Not anymore. The politically correct parents saw to that. The Claremont school district saw to it, too. It banned the kindergarteners' costumes after PC parents denounced such finery as demeaning and perpetuating stereotypes. You couldn't pull a fake headdress or buckled hat over their eyes.
Fri, 5 Dec 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e106.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:15
Bernstein With a Twist In these days of transition, we’ve glided from Thanksgiving to Black Friday.

Tis the season.

But even holiday gifts can’t escape our dour mood. Here are a just few classic toys and games that I hear have been “updated” to reflect the economic times.

Tickle Me Enron. Nostalgic plush toy that giggles, “Our investors only lost $50 billion.” (Last September, the stock market value dropped by $1.2 trillion in one day!)

Bernanke Babies. These ranged to make snap decisions about who gets bailed out and who doesn’t. Then, just like that, they change their minds!

Cabbage Patch Big Three Auto CEOs. They coo. They wet. They whine. They scream. They fly coach! (This is a new model that will be available in selected Washington DC stores any day now.
Wed, 26 Nov 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e104.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:14
Bernstein With a Twist The U.S. auto industry is (allegedly) on life support, gasping for cash. And who responds to the Code Blue?

The Big Three Stooges.

OK, maybe Larry, Moe and the other guy left their gold cufflinks at home, but everybody now knows how the Ford, GM and Chrysler CEOs trekked from Detroit to DC:

. Private jets.
. Plural.
. Three separate round-trips at roughly $20,000 each.
. How bad did this look? Even congressmen were appalled.
Fri, 21 Nov 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e101.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:08
Bernstein With a Twist I get a little tired when I hear people say nobody’s hiring.

Barack Obama’s hiring. The Dodgers want to hire Manny for $15 million next year.

And over at the Riverside branch of the county’s Workforce Development Center (or unemployment office), a large tablet, much like you might see in a restaurant, announced the Job du Jour: ”

The job? Laborer. Salary: $8 per hour. Up to 300 people trudge through this office each day.

“We have people who come in who are very distraught,” said Maria Muldrow, a workforce center manager. What they discover, she says, is an agency that, since July, has “enrolled” up to 8,000 job seekers in a full-court program to identify their skills, upgrade them and get them “job-ready.”

How many jobs have the job-ready landed? Right now, they don’t know.

Sounds like a great model, this one-on-one customer service. But when you’re dealing with 9.1 percent unemployment, sometimes even the job-ready are jobless.
Fri, 14 Nov 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e99.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:17
Bernstein With a Twist Dear Mr. President-elect,

Congratulations on your historic victory. I watched your Election Night speech and I’ve got to say you looked awfully serious. More like worried. Right there in front of the whole world, you promised your kids a new puppy. I could tell you didn’t have a clue about what kind of puppy to bring to the White House.

Look, you’re going to have to make thousands of decisions. Wouldn’t it be nice to get one out of the way right now? That is why I am urging you not to get an Old English sheepdog.
Fri, 7 Nov 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e97.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:15
Bernstein With a Twist "Latest Inland Empire and California News" Tue, 4 Nov 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e96.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:29 Bernstein With a Twist Time’s running out. The race is tightening there are still millions of undecided voters.

Maybe undecideds should pick the candidate with the best sense of humor.

Barack Obama and John McCain recently appeared at the annual Al Smith banquet in New York. Maybe the guy who told the best jokes should win.
Fri, 31 Oct 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e94.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:16
Bernstein With a Twist Neither rain, nor sleet, nor insufficient postage shall keep mailed ballots from their appointment with the RivCo Registrar o’ Voters.

So says Registrar Barbara Dunmore, whom I called following a spate of inquiries from readers who noted that this season’s absentee ballot grossly outweighs 42 cents, the first-class postal rate du jour.

In fact, most voters will have to dole out at least 59 cents, or simply slap on two first-classers, if they decide to go postal.

The registrar isn’t trying to hide this. It’s right there in the “rules”. But it’s a cinch that some of the 300,000 RivCo voters expected to ballot by mail will read right over them.

So then what happens? Does your under-stamped packet languish in the dead-ballot office?

Dunmore: “We get ballots with no stamps on them. We over the postage. We have an account with the U.S. Postal service. (The balance is $15K, down from $25K in 2006.) Any ballot that comes in short of postage is debited to that account.” And the mail goes through.
Fri, 24 Oct 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e92.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:14
Bernstein With a Twist I have an idea that could make billions. It’s such a simple idea, like Velcro or the cup holder, I’m surprised no one else thought of it first.

A few nights ago, I found myself in the company of a bunch of musicians, half of who seemed transfixed by their BlackBerries. The BlackBerry is a thin, hand-held “smartphone” that can do many things, including link up to the Internet. My fellow musicians had convened for a concert at an inconvenient time: Dodgers-Phillies game.

Inconvenient, but hardly an insurmountable obstacle for technology. The BlackBerry screens provided an up-to-the-second, play-by-play account. The moment something happened, the BlackBerry screen unleashed a sizzle of text:

“Ramirez singled to left, Furcal scored, Ethier to third. Ramirez to second.”

So what if you couldn’t plop in front of a 70-inch flat screen? Just whip out the old BlackBerry and read all about it! (I saw one of these gizmos advertised for $100. A friend said his monthly service costs $30).

The BlackBerry sure is slick. But I got to thinking: What if somebody came up with a device that was just as tiny and concealable as the BlackBerry, but would do more than display play-by-play text. What if this device permitted a musician (or a student or a beleaguered office worker) to listen to the game! What if we could hear announcers who were actually at the ballpark describe what was happening. Play by play. With crowd noise to boot!
Fri, 17 Oct 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e91.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:03
Bernstein With a Twist I was having the darndest time understanding our depression-style crisis. Aside from calculating that I can now retire at 87, the dimensions of this thing eluded me.

Until I listened to listened to a congressional hearing (there was no baseball) on the AIG bailout. Technically, it was an “oversight” hearing. (In Congress, “oversight” means: “We sure missed that one!”)

But once they have their eye on the old ball, congressmen sure know how to tell us what’s going on. That’s why I hung on every word of the prepared statement by Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Mixmaster of Metaphors.
Fri, 10 Oct 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e89.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:10
Bernstein With a Twist "Latest Inland Empire and California News" Wed, 8 Oct 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e87.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:29 Bernstein With a Twist "Latest Inland Empire and California News" Tue, 7 Oct 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e86.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:47 Bernstein With a Twist I’m not sticking up for Wall Street. I wouldn’t mind if crooked CEOs fell hard and did time.

But do we really understand American Wall Streeters? What pressures and worries consume them?

Went to the library and grabbed “Wall Street”, the 1987 Oliver Stone movie starring Michael Douglas as Gordon Gekko. I picked up “Bonfire of the Vanities”, the 1987 Tom Wolfe novel. What was it about 1987?
Fri, 3 Oct 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e84.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:07
Bernstein With a Twist I’d been coping with the economic meltdown pretty well:

When Bear Stearns went down, I tried to bear up.

When I heard about Lehman Brothers, I made Lehmanade. (What else could a layman do?)

When Warren Buffet said he’d pour $5 billion into Goldman Sachs, I thought, “Finally somebody’s practicing safe Sachs.”

And I’ve developed a strategy for tracking of my retirement plan: Don’t Even Think About Finding Out How Much You’ve Lost! (I have a $.198K)

Yes, I’d been coping fairly well. Then I bought deodorant and realized the meltdown directly affects me.
Fri, 26 Sep 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e82.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:06
Bernstein With a Twist Back in April, Assemblyman John J. Benoit grimly pledged “to ask some tough questions that are going to put some people on the spot.”

The Inland Republican even warned he would “hold people accountable.”

As a breed, California legislators are known to do absolutely nothing unless doing nothing could be more politically harmful than doing something.

Back in April, up to his bumper stickers in a nasty primary, Assemblyman Benoit concluded he had to at least say something. Otherwise, voters might not give him two more years of doing nothing.

So he called for a legislative hearing about delays and cost overruns on the massive interchange known as the Riverside Squeeze!

Then, in June, Assemblyman Benoit won his primary. And resumed doing nothing.
Fri, 19 Sep 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e80.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:18
Bernstein With a Twist It’s 3 o’clock in the morning and the phone is ringing.

No, wait. That’s not a phone. It’s a GPS signal. It’s coming from a microchip that has been implanted in:

A. A pet.
B. A registered sex offender.
C. A cactus.

(Journalistic note. There are two types of columns in American newspapers. “If we can put a man on the moon” appeals to our innate sense of optimism, advancing the premise that we can do better. “It has come to this” questions how we ever put a man on the moon.)

The answer is C, as in cactus. It has come to this: Palm Desert may implant microchips in those stubby, chubby “golden barrel” cacti because someone keeps stealing them from the visitor’s center and medians. Talk about unhappy medians.

$20,000 worth of Palm Desert cactus has been swiped in the last six months.
Fri, 12 Sep 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e79.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:10
Bernstein With a Twist Turns out City Hall has been treating some of the most passionate boosters (and potential users) of Riverside ’s Fox Theater the way they treated the museum ‘n’ library lovers: with dismissive contempt.

Just as it was forced to do ith the muz-lib expansion, city management abruptly shifted into “we-want-to-hear-from-you” mode, largely at the urging the new councilman, Mike Gardner, and the old mayor, who evidently took a vow of silence during the dismissive-contempt era. But the mayor still reads election returns. He’s speakin’ up for the peeps now Ron Loveridge wants another term.

So it was that local performing arts groups jammed City Hall this week, hoping to lay claim to what may become (the city could still screw this up) the cultural jewel of downtown Riverside. Opera, ballet and choral groups envision publicly owned Fox as their home base.
Fri, 5 Sep 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e77.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:03
Bernstein With a Twist How dull is life at UCR? Duller, evidently, than Olympic beach volleyball.

So dull that students had nothing better to do than answer a national survey ranking collegiate dullness.

As you’ve probably read, UCR’s dismal “quality of life” made the top ten. No. 6. There’s room for further dullness!

I’m shocked UCR students are miserable. This suggests a surprising awareness of their surroundings, which means they may periodically emerge from the digital cocoon that did not exist in the pre-cable-laptop-vidgame-cellphone-text-message era.

What difference could it possibly make whether they’re in Riverside, Reno or Racine?
Fri, 29 Aug 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e74.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:09
Bernstein With a Twist After months of sparring for the presidential title, we’ve finally arrived at winnin’ time.

This won’t be pretty. We know that depicting a candidate in a positive light just doesn’t work.

So I offer a few jingles as a sampler of what campaign consultants might use to depict the candidate they oppose.
Fri, 22 Aug 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e73.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:59
Bernstein With a Twist I finally understand why the Riverside County sheriff and the Soboba Indians don’t hit it off:

They don’t communicate in Luiseño, native language of the Soboba band. They don’t communicate in English, native language of the sheriff. They miscommunicate in a non-language nobody understands.

A couple of days ago, the tribe, the Sheriff’s Department and Indian law experts met to discuss Public Law 280, a 55-year-old federal law that places reservations in California and other states under authority of state and local law enforcement.

The sheriff isn’t nuts about enforcing Pubic Law 280 (says he’s just doing his job. The tribe isn’t nuts about how the sheriff enforces the law. And everyone thinks whoever wrote the law did a lousy job. So here we are, inching toward what could be a rare agreement on something! And what happens?

They start speaking that non-language. They start talking about “retrocession.”
Fri, 15 Aug 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e68.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:17
Bernstein With a Twist I finally understand why the Riverside County sheriff and the Soboba Indians don’t hit it off:

They don’t communicate in Luiseño, native language of the Soboba band. They don’t communicate in English, native language of the sheriff. They miscommunicate in a non-language nobody understands.

A couple of days ago, the tribe, the Sheriff’s Department and Indian law experts met to discuss Public Law 280, a 55-year-old federal law that places reservations in California and other states under authority of state and local law enforcement.

The sheriff isn’t nuts about enforcing Pubic Law 280 (says he’s just doing his job. The tribe isn’t nuts about how the sheriff enforces the law. And everyone thinks whoever wrote the law did a lousy job. So here we are, inching toward what could be a rare agreement on something! And what happens?

They start speaking that non-language. They start talking about “retrocession.”
Fri, 15 Aug 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e69.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:17
Bernstein With a Twist I finally understand why the Riverside County sheriff and the Soboba Indians don’t hit it off:

They don’t communicate in Luiseño, native language of the Soboba band. They don’t communicate in English, native language of the sheriff. They miscommunicate in a non-language nobody understands.

A couple of days ago, the tribe, the Sheriff’s Department and Indian law experts met to discuss Public Law 280, a 55-year-old federal law that places reservations in California and other states under authority of state and local law enforcement.

The sheriff isn’t nuts about enforcing Pubic Law 280 (says he’s just doing his job. The tribe isn’t nuts about how the sheriff enforces the law. And everyone thinks whoever wrote the law did a lousy job. So here we are, inching toward what could be a rare agreement on something! And what happens?

They start speaking that non-language. They start talking about “retrocession.”
Fri, 15 Aug 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e70.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:17
Bernstein With a Twist Before I first met Keith Powell, I’d been tipped not to offer the traditional nice-to-meetcha greeting.

“You can see him trying to shake hands,” wrote Maj. Rick Peacock of Riverside’s Salvation Army. “But mostly it’s just his shoulder moving.”

Powell, 46, used to work for a framing company. Worked as a handyman, too. Did remodels. Even did some time and says he’s almost off probation. “I was living the wild life.”

But when I met Keith Powell, he was living on the brink. You couldn’t tell from his eyes, which sparkle like city lights. But he hadn’t just lost his livelihood and a few vehicles. He had lost the use of his arms. When his cell rings, someone answers it for him. He can’t bathe himself. And it’s only going to get worse because it only gets worse for people with Lou Gehrig’s disease.

I met Powell at the Salvation Army office after Maj. Peacock wrote: “I’ve been doing this type of work for 28 years and this is one of the most frustrating and pitiful cases I’ve seen.”
Fri, 8 Aug 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e62.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:00
Bernstein With a Twist Peggy Minor wrote me the kindest note:

“Thank you for choosing to read my e-mail. I know you have many choices of e-mails and I appreciate that you chose mine.”

I felt so good about choosing to read Peggy’s e-mail that I just kept reading: “I get thanked even when I have no choice, as in a recent encounter with the Gas Co. I called to have an appliance checked and was thanked profusely for choosing The Gas Company. There is no other choice for gas needs in this area!”

“In this day of exaggerated and mandated by the boss politeness, don’t you think this whole thing has gone too far?”

I’d like to thank Peggy for choosing to raise this subject because, now that she mentions it, we do seem to be a chronically grateful and polite people.
Fri, 1 Aug 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e60.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:36
Bernstein With a Twist Latest Inland Empire and California news Mon, 28 Jul 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e59.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:05 Bernstein With a Twist OPEC is drilling a hole through Indian gaming!

When costly crude helps pump the life out of the casino biz, when we can no longer count on our Golden State gamblers to support the state treasury in the manner to which the governor promised we'd become accustomed, it's time for the governor to relinquish his failed role as Debtinator and strap it on as Terminator. OPEC has gone too far.

After reading our story about the 400 layoffs at Pechanga, I drove to S'Berdoo's San Manuel casino, where (supposedly) nary a firing is contemplated. I wanted to talk to unfazed gamblers to reassure myself that the pipeline between the slots and Sacto is gushing at full force. After all, this is an urban den. Concentrated population. Shorter trips. Fewer gas worries.

Then I met Natalie Sanchez, who was playing her Sun & Moon slot. Everything sounded gaming compacterrific. She only lives five miles away. She's been coming here for years. She wagers $200 every two weeks. Ka-ching for Kalyfornya!

Then the truth dribbled out like a penny jackpot.

Before gas prices triggered a budgetary review, Natalie visited San Manuel thrice weekly, gambling at least $50 each time. That was $600 a month. She's down to $400. She's not alone.
Fri, 25 Jul 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e58.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:33
Bernstein With a Twist I took a few days off to drive my wife and dog to their Pacific Northwest retreat.

The scenic route this wasn’t. Once we elbowed our way out of Smogland, we got the payoff: Several hundred dazzling miles of I-5.

My wife knows everything about this stretch: rest-area locations, In-N-Out hours (it’s a travesty arrive when they’re closed), exactly when to buy gas (only after travel ling 350 miles). Always the same. But not this time.

Interstate 5 has never looked better. Hundreds and hundreds of miles have been resurfaced. It was like hitching a ride on a magnificent charcoal-and-yellow snake as it slithered toward the Oregon border. But nobody else came along.

I don’t mean nobody. But there was definitely something missing. I’m sure many of you have taken long, boring road trips where you’d pass the time trying to spot, say, the most oddball or distant license plate. It didn’t take long before my wife and I were playing this game, with RVs.

We weren’t looking for freakish RVs. Or the RV that had come the farthest. We were just looking for any RV traveling north or south on I-5 in July 2008. It was as if they had become extinct.
Fri, 18 Jul 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e56.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:32
Bernstein With a Twist You are listening to what is known in the biz as an evergreen commentary.

Evergreen. Maybe not always in bloom. But good for all seasons.

An evergreen commentary is like a relief pitcher in baseball or the field goal kicker in football. Or a lawyer who has taken a keen interest in ambulances. It has to be ready on short notice.

The evergreen commentary steps in when, for one reason or another, someone, or something, steps out.
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e54.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:35
Bernstein With a Twist It is such a relief to read that the Flesh Club, once regarded as the lap of culture in San Bernardino, may turn over a new fig leaf and become a good, clean topless joint.

No more all-nude cabaret. No more private little booths. No more dancers touching customers (and their wallets).

Some diehards will lament that Hospitality Lane has become Hospitality Lame, but this change of heart (and underwear) is apparently a business decision. Without a liquor license, the Flesh Club would be a bag of bones. The surest route to a liquor license appears to be chaste entertainment in the topless genre, regulated by the state alkie police. But will this be enough to score a license?

The all-nude Flesh Club carries lots of baggage. (Empty baggage, of course, but baggage all the same.) It had, determined the judge who shut it down, become a magnet for unlawful sex and lewd conduct.

As a result, neighboring businesses may not be impressed with the Flesh Club’s intent to embrace semi-nudity and reinvent itself as a wholesome topless bar. California Baptist University’s Elaine Ahumada, dean of the nearby College of Professional Studies put it this way:

“If you want to build better economic foundations and help your community, you have to put in things that actually grow communities and that are sustainable.”

She’s right. The Flesh Club cannot hope to win over the community unless it can somehow become part of the community. It might be easier than you think.
Thu, 3 Jul 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e49.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:34
Bernstein With a Twist Parents tell me their kids have invented a language that older folks do not comprehend. They've perfected a form of shorthand, or short thumb, to dash off cryptic messages on their laptops and cell phones.

Good for them. My generation invented the twist.

But it just burns me to learn, compliments of a Pew Research Center report, that 40 percent of 12-to-17 year-olds allow this inane chat lingo, LOL, ROFL, BFF, to creep into their school essays and homework.

Granted, I'm a geezer. But this geezer's going to make a stand.

LOL (laughing out loud), ROFL (rolling on the floor laughing) and BFF (best friends forever) should be confined to those informal, cotton-candy exchanges we've come to know as "chat." They must be barred from contaminating the time-honored sentence.

It's not as if I'm some snooty purist. I just happen to respect the English language, 24/7.
Fri, 27 Jun 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e47.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:39
Bernstein With a Twist No doubt about it, those Greyhound buses do attract a certain ridership.

"They're dirty. They're unshaved. They hit you up for money, cigarettes, food. They bleed you the whole trip."

Yes, Cherlyn Camp, who goes Greyhound from Alabama to California's redwood forests, can attest to being bled by fellow riders. But ride Greyhound out of town, apparently the preferred route of official Riverside? Not so fast, she says.

"I also see people who depend on it just to travel."

Patricia Artist is content to just ride the bus and work her Cryptograms. But when the music gets too loud and the language becomes too salty, Patricia, a 64-year-old Riversider who soon would hop the Hound for Oakland, becomes philosophical: "You have to take the good with the bad."

After all, says Patricia, who no longer drives, "This is the only way some people can travel. They're the traveling poor."

I met Patricia and Cherlyn at the Greyhound station Wednesday morning after the City Council euthanized a plan to move the station from downtown to a Riverside location that made absolutely no sense.

But the decision seemed to be more about how to get rid of Greyhound than where to put it.

"Does it really belong in Riverside?" mused Cindy Roth, prez of the Chamber of Commerce.

"If this means Greyhound doesn't do business in Riverside anymore," pronounced Councilman Mike Gardner, "so be it."

The Renaissance city, having profiled Greyhound patrons as criminals trolling for trouble, now advises the old dog: Detour. Road Closed. No Dumping.
Fri, 20 Jun 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e45.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:32
Bernstein With a Twist After RivCo voters elected a deputy DA and a chief deputy DA to Superior Court judgeships last week, DA Rod Pacheco must have felt, as the psychobabblists say, validated.

"I think the message was loud and clear. We do need to provide the means to make sure all disputes, civil and criminal, are resolved. But the public wants to be safe in Riverside County."

He's right. Here's how: Thursday, Pacheco repaired to the desert to announce an injunction against a street gang allegedly responsible for hundreds of crimes, including murders.

Wednesday, jurors convicted Mansa Musa Muhummed of child and spousal abuse, torture, including starving seven of his kids, etc. The Aguanga man's lawyer says he will appeal. I'd say seeking the gang injunction and prosecuting Muhummed are what the public, including the voting public, expects of its DA.

I'm not so sure about the case of Leslie Zhang, the MoVal mother who was charged with child endangerment after her 3-year-old daughter, Julissa, wandered off and drowned in a friend's Riverside pool.
Fri, 13 Jun 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e42.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:32
Bernstein With a Twist "Latest Inland Empire and California News" Tue, 10 Jun 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e41.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:15 Bernstein With a Twist I was westbound on Highway 91. The October evening had seen the last of the sun as I drove a couple of musicians from a rehearsal in San Bernardino and approached the Riverside Squeeze.

This was still the old 91-60-215 interchange and I eased into the slow lane to take the cloverleaf to eastbound 60. It was commutin’ time. We stopped dead. I grew impatient. Get out of this lane, I told myself. Take the next exit. I looked in my rearview mirror. Looked clear to me. I gave it the gas and bolted into the lane to my left.

Wham! A car from nowhere bounced off the driver’s door, my door, scaled the center divider, came back down, zipped in front of me and hit a pickup in the lane I’d just left.

When the dust (and glass) settled, nobody was seriously hurt. My insurance company eventually declared I was 100 percent at fault. I lost my good-driver discount. My insurance premium increased. And I had to get used to hearing my wife say, “You totaled the minivan.”

All because I made a bad decision. But not tragically bad. I was lucky.

The six young people riding in a Dodge Ram pickup on a Friday night last month actually made a very good decision before setting off on their life-ending cruise through Riverside: They appointed a designated driver. The 19-year-old woman behind the wheel had not been drinking. Sometimes, even a good decision isn’t good enough.

The truck, doing 55, soared over a hump at a railroad crossing and smacked into a palm tree. Three passengers, including the driver, died.

I recount these incidents because we are entering the annual season of hope and promise, when bad decisions become grotesquely magnified. Caution: We are entering graduation season.

Just a year ago, 80 Perris High School seniors wrapped up their graduation run-through, boarded two buses and headed for Mission Beach.
Fri, 6 Jun 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e39.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:36
Bernstein With a Twist How will Sen. Clinton exit the race? A scenario:

DATELINE WASHINGTON D.C. November 3, Election Eve, 2008 — Most TV viewers thought it was a throwaway line when Sen. Clinton said: “I happen to believe every vote should be counted, in Michigan, Florida and on American Idol!”

But when she belted out that sentence to convention delegates last August, the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination took another bizarre turn.

The convention adjourned without a nominee as Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama left the campaign trail to prepare for a special Presidential Presentation of “American Idol.”
Fri, 30 May 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e38.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:33
Bernstein With a Twist The year was 2002. The Board O’ Regents unanimously picked France Córdova to run UCR, making her the first female Hispanic chancellor in the UC system.

The casual spectator might have viewed this as a moment of triumph, not just for Córdova, but for local Hispanic activists who hit the road and lobbied hard. Their message to the regents: Appoint a Hispanic chancellor. At the time, Hispanic students comprised 20 percent of UCR’s enrollment.

“If they don’t appoint a Chicano or Latino as chancellor here and now,” said Chicano studies major Jose Lopez, “they won’t do it anywhere else.”

Fast forward to 2008. Córdova was long gone. Another search for another UCR chancellor was under way. What did the Empire’s Hispanic tell the regents this time? Nothing. Nothing?

What changed?

“What you get you might not like,” said Danny Morales, who pushed for a Hispanic chancellor six years ago. “We submitted a lot of good names given to us by educators throughout the country. France Córdova’s name was not among those.”

She owed the local Hispanics nothing and never embraced the role they envisioned.
Fri, 23 May 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e36.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:35
Bernstein With a Twist It’s safe to say that only Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone takes full advantage of the “Opening Comments” item on the board’s weekly agenda.

Larry Parrish, the county’s chief exec officer, says Stone uses the time to deliver "an oral report on his week's activity. It just got away from him."

What "got away from him", or at least unleashed waves of snickers, was Stone's account of a water symposium at the Morongo Casino Resort, where the supervisor had to use a restroom.

"I went in with a sense of urgency," he reported from the board chamber. And came out with a sense of awe.

"I was very impressed, I'm sorry to bring this up in a public session, but they had a waterless urinal."

A waterless urinal at a water symposium! Stone couldn’t stop gushing.
Fri, 16 May 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e34.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:33
Bernstein With a Twist I clicked to a cable "news" show (I should have just stayed in the kitchen and washed my hair), and heard Bill O'Reilly quiz oil-price expert Ben Mezrich.

O'Reilly: "OK, so who's the guy who sets the world price of oil? Somebody has to set it at $125/barrel, it just doesn't arrive at that number."

Mezrich: "It would be great if there were one such person."

O'Reilly: "Look, there's got to be that one person. If you don't know him, that's fine, neither do I."

A conservative blogger, who holds the view that oil prices are set by markets, auctions, etc., said O'Reilly showed "a startling degree of ignorance." I actually felt embarrassed for the host until the next day. On the way to the gym, I noticed gas was $3.89. On my way back, I decided to invest in a few gallons.

I was punching my ZIP code into the pump's key pad when I heard someone say, "Better hurry."

He wore a lime sweat suit with matching shoes.

"Who are you?" I asked.

"A pump whisperer."
Fri, 9 May 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e32.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:36
Bernstein With a Twist We closed out April with Erin Brockovich trolling for cancer victims in Riverside and reports of a pig explosion over Indio. I'm determined to launch May with a feel-good story.

Norm Lynde bought his Martha Stewart home a year ago. Remember Martha? After she left the Big House, she hooked up with KB Home, which built a tract in Perris before the housing bubble went KBoom. Just last year, the asking price for a Martha ranged from $361,990 to $406,990. Without upgrades.

Norm, chief financial officer for a nonprofit, had grown weary of his Corona-Riverside commute. You know things are bad when the drive between side-by-side cities in the same county becomes intolerable.

He checked out the "Olive Grove at May Ranch" and, "I was kind of embarrassed to tell people that I was looking at a Martha Stewart home." But he was hooked. He even met herself, who visited Perris in 2007.

Norm picked a house that started at $383K. But he wanted the bay window, covered back porch, a fireplace. By the time he had upgraded, Norm was in for another $40K-$50K.

I wrote about the Martha-KB liaison last year and decided to return because the I-215 billboards kept changing. Oh, Martha still looks her crisp self in the photo, but the homes now start in the mid-$200s.
Fri, 2 May 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e30.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:32
Bernstein With a Twist I stood at my station in the assembly line, thinking, "No way will I ever empty this bin."

But I kept my mouth shut and did my job, snatching up small packets of low-cal Oreos and dropping them into brown paper bags. The woman to my right did the same with Wheat Thins. The string-cheese lady stood to my left.

The paper bags kept coming, passed from hand to hand, steadily filling with tubs of apple sauce, granola bars, bags of tiny carrots, genuine Riverside oranges, bottles of pure juice.

Once through the line, the bags were stapled shut and placed in boxes. From there, they'd be driven to one of 15 Riverside elementary schools and handed off to kids who'd either tear into them right away or make them last through the weekend, sometimes beyond.

Thousands of students qualify for government breakfasts and lunches. But what about Friday dinner? In some families, money is so tight and food so scarce that the next guaranteed meal may not come around until Monday morning, assuming school's in session.

That's why 308 Riverside elementary students went home with snack bags on Friday. Roughly that number gets a bag every Friday, compliments of the Assistance League of Riverside, the brains and muscle behind Operation Snack Attack.
Fri, 25 Apr 2008 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e27.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:03:31
Bernstein With a Twist Latest Inland Empire and Southern California news Fri, 6 Jul 2007 00:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e50.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:02:57 Bernstein With a Twist I stood at my station in the assembly line, thinking, "No way will I ever empty this bin."

But I kept my mouth shut and did my job, snatching up small packets of low-cal Oreos and dropping them into brown paper bags. The woman to my right did the same with Wheat Thins. The string-cheese lady stood to my left.

The paper bags kept coming, passed from hand to hand, steadily filling with tubs of apple sauce, granola bars, bags of tiny carrots, genuine Riverside oranges, bottles of pure juice.

Once through the line, the bags were stapled shut and placed in boxes. From there, they'd be driven to one of 15 Riverside elementary schools and handed off to kids who'd either tear into them right away or make them last through the weekend, sometimes beyond.

Thousands of students qualify for government breakfasts and lunches. But what about Friday dinner? In some families, money is so tight and food so scarce that the next guaranteed meal may not come around until Monday morning, assuming school's in session.

That's why 308 Riverside elementary students went home with snack bags on Friday. Roughly that number gets a bag every Friday, compliments of the Assistance League of Riverside, the brains and muscle behind Operation Snack Attack.
Wed, 31 Dec 1969 17:00:00 MST http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/ http://www.inlandnewstoday.com/audio/e28.mp3 Bernstein With a Twist 0:00:00