carol's kitchen

Friday, July 01, 2016


Kudos to the organizers of Sacto MoFo food trucks Wednesday for hitting the bull’s eye on an activity that finally brings the community together.  Art hasn’t done it.  Politics don’t cut it.  No cultural event I’ve seen in this town has done it.   

Music would do it if done right: free outdoor evening concerts when the weather is right --  jazz, blues, hip hop, rock and roll -- might rouse otherwise reluctant citizens.  But when it comes to food, Vallejoans proved yesterday they’re willing and able to show up in numbers for their burritos and tacos, burgers and dogs – and a real good time was had by all. 

I joined the crowd around 5 o'clock on the downtown waterfront for an early dinner on the grass, served up by amiable vendors with colorful vehicles, and not only did I enjoy a tasty, juicy meal of pork belly tacos with apple slaw, I got to see and schmooze with folks of all ages from all over Vallejo.

I will not think about Roi Choi's celebrated Korean tacos or the other gourmet fusion cuisines from the trucks I loved so much in L.A.; I will not.  I will be here now.  It was a wonderful event and I look forward to the next one.

Sunday, June 19, 2016


Some of the folks running for mayor & city council in Vallejo invite me to fund raisers, but, with the exception of Robert McConnell, they haven’t told me anything that makes me want to vote for them – so far.  I watch their mouths move, but hear nothing but platitudes & clichés; just a lot of blah blah blah, delivered over fancy food & drink, in lovely settings, with charming people.   

Sorry guys, I won’t be bribed, nor will I contribute to campaigns that tell me nothing.  

For example, here’s a doozie I read last week in this newspaper: “’s time to dig deeper and work on systemic and long term change that will ensure a transparent, open and collaborative form of government such as civic engagement policies that ensure public noticing and participation on major economic development projects.” 

Whew!  Will someone please translate that garbage for me?

Worse than gobbledygook is the gossip people repeat as though they know it’s true, when they actually do not.  There’s a lot of nasty stuff out there, which, if we can’t stop at the source, we can at least ignore.  Please, don’t let gossip influence your thinking.   For example, many people I know tell me a certain candidate is a Dominionist.  They believe this is a fact, which it might be, but how do they know?  So far no one has been able to tell me.  Moreover, just because someone is friendly & smiling, shakes my hand and acts like a “good guy,” isn’t enough reason to get my money or my vote.

I want my elected officials to be able to articulate what’s needed in Vallejo and how to get it done.  I want them to know what’s going on in the city, its schools & various communities; to understand business and know how to make good deals.  Do any of the people running for mayor or city council have those qualities?   These are my questions to all local candidates.  Please answer with straight talk, in simple English.  

  • 1.      What’s your vision for Vallejo? 
  • 2.       How will you make it happen? 

Furthermore, I want to see regular town meetings, public forums, Q & A sessions where citizens can ask tough questions directly, and hear answers we understand. 
Enough obfuscation!   Stop the gossip!  Let’s have a real conversation.  I want to hear the candidates tell me what I need to know in order to use my intelligence in deciding who to vote for.  

Saturday, June 04, 2016


Listening to Faraday Future’s presentation this past week, I thought this is too good to be true. But it could happen. Good things happen, too. No reason why it shouldn’t happen to us. Lord knows we’ve suffered long enough, what with two bankruptcies and crime, tearing our hair out over the cement factory ...
From my point of view it wasn’t a professional presentation like other companies I’ve seen pitching our city council for that land on Mare Island. Our staff spoke well, but Faraday’s fellow, Dag Reckhorn, vice president of manufacturing, was inarticulate and unprepared. The slides didn’t match his words; his words were often jumbled. He did, however, speak with a twinkle in his voice. We want to have fun, he said. When was the last time we heard anything like that in our drafty old meeting room in City Hall?
Last night was different. We in the audience were feeling pretty good about ourselves as well. A number of well-spoken, knowledgeable citizens pointed out the need to hire experts, be prepared, make a timeline, as well as other warnings and good ideas on how to negotiate this deal. Boudicca Todi told the city council that Faraday needs us more than we need them. In fact we don’t need them. Be ready to walk away, she warned, like the brave civic/heroine she is.
We must be brave. I’m sad to see Vallejo suffering from the mentality of poverty. We’ve got to cut that out now and start behaving like the great city we’re becoming — with or without Faraday Future on Mare Island. We all know it’s coming. You can feel it. I can smell it. Bernie came ...
Our calls for public art, moreover, the landscaping of our parks and waterfront, should also go out to the world. We deserve the best. If the winning talent comes from within our community, all the better, but let’s not limit ourselves by holding on to the status quo. Think big. Raise the bar. Let’s go for the best we can get.
I’d love to see Faraday and Vallejo work out a deal worthy of the citizens of Vallejo.
That, Mayor Davis, is what you should leave as your legacy. Not a 60-foot bronze monument to all wars.

Thursday, April 07, 2016


Still waiting for fiber optics?  You can relax now.  Your very own Macroneurotic is launching a new business -- venture capitalists please take note.   This will be a carrier pigeon service, AKA Carol’s Cold-Blooded Carriers (CC-BC).  Our service is designed for people carrying on illicit love affairs, secret committee meetings, and/or engaged in private conversations with politicians, wink wink. 
Our pigeons deliver messages anywhere on land, on sea, or in the air.  Whatever message you want kept secret, we can handle it.  Our birds are swift and tell no tales, even when tortured by the likes of Donald Trump. 
The CC-BC fleet can fly over the highest walls & through barbed wire fences; they carry no viruses nor can they be hacked.  Our secret revolutionary encryption method (© ™®) is simple: we break your message into three parts and use three pigeons flying three different routes, so even if they get one bird, what are the chances of catching all three? 
How about that!
Ladies & gentlemen: this is the most secure secret message transmission method that exists today; better than Apple, who by their own admission could create a back door if they wanted to.  Our pigeons have no back doors; they’ve got wings and tails and they know how to fly.  Best of all, they reach destinations without use of the internet or PG&E.   
Please ask about our soon-to-be-released highly skilled trained flock of drone pigeons who carry remote controlled cameras & other surveillance appliances – latest technology, of course. 
Our pigeons will always nod in agreement; they are proud to please.


NOT GUILTY!  What did I say about entertainment in Vallejo?  You just can’t beat a Tuesday night special meeting of the City Council for high drama.  On one of those nights earlier this year, in the raw painful wake of exposing MISDC (secret committee for helping Orcem & VMT dredge the river), I watched a series of events that could have been lifted right out of a Hollywood movie. 
Here’s how it went: a certain ex-vice mayor committed a lengthy tearful reverse-auto-da-fe, denying guilt over and over, all the while refusing to apologize, pleading with the peanut gallery to feel sorry for him, telling us we could not possibly imagine what it feels like to sit up on that stage and be publicly vilified for more than four and a half hours, for something of which he is completely innocent. 
I felt no pity for the fellow, and besides, nobody asked him.  His tirade showed up at the start of the meeting like a bat out of hell; out of order and off the wall, but no one stopped him.  He simply had to get it off his chest.  He’ll probably play that monologue in his mind for a long long time.  I wonder if late at night he watches re-runs of that meeting when the citizens of Vallejo accused him of wrong-doing, over & over like strokes of a whip.  Does he feel like Capt. Queeg?   
Nor was I moved by the blonde at the end of the table who also elicits pity; she’s really so sweet, and her golden locks sparkle under the spotlights.  What I imagine about her is she just does what she’s told.  Anyone out there get a different impression? 
Best of all, for me, Miss Katie, who took the same ethics course for Public Officials that I did, and repeated the words I’d directed at the mayor only one week before: the perception of wrong doing in the eyes of the people is enough to make you guilty.  Whatever he’d done to make so many people mad enough to come down to city hall on a cold blustery night in the middle of winter and tell him about it, is wrong and he should not do it even if he thinks it’s right.  That ethics course, incidentally, taught that the consequences of such wrong-doing could be fines, jail time, and public humiliation, but there was no talk of the first two in our city hall under the watchful eye of our legal hawk. 
Then the public spoke: a homeless mother of six addressed the council; claimed a city employee hung up on her when she asked for help.  No one knew what to say.  As she walked back to her seat the silence in the house was deafening. 
Things got worse.  The lover of cement factories on precious waterfront property put in his two cents, and it was all we could do to remain in our seats.  He accused us of being against business, and not interested in what’s good for Vallejo.  I bowed my head and hissed.  Yes, I did. 
Our own brilliant AC, the best, most eloquent, intelligent & informed citizen activist in town, and my own personal heroine, was vilified for characterizing Filipino people as being “respectful of the law,” a quality she found lacking in a council woman who’s ever-changing lipstick colors I always find stunning. 
There was a well-spoken MMD owner who told the council that the secret committee meetings had destroyed all her respect for our government and they had lost the trust of the people.    
Somebody got up & told the Vallejo City Council we the people were fed up seeing the same 4 – 3 votes on motions; time and time again, the same people voting together the same way.  We also don’t like that they don’t get along among themselves, let alone with the likes of us.
McConnell, who should have been vice-mayor but lost in a 4-3 vote, suggested the council create an ad-hoc committee and hold open discussions about the recent debacle in order to learn how to do better and try to regain the public’s trust.  The mayor said it would be wasting time making new rules & regulations when we already had perfectly good ones in place.  When it was pointed out that he himself had broken the rules he called that “a mistake,” and even excused the blond at the end of the table for making the same mistake.
That’s what my ex-husband called it when I caught him cheating.  A mistake. 
But the city manager advised the mayor to do what the good councilman suggested, which must have really bugged his honor big time seeing as how he and the white-haired knight are always duking it out up there on the dais in front of the hoi-polloi.  I wonder how they behave when we’re not around.
I was embarrassed when our legal eagle corrected one of our most outspoken activists, who’d given the impression that his website, exposing the secret committee, had been pulled by the city staff when it had not.  I’m not happy with him because I want us to be better than that.  Ditto about the recall efforts, which I’m glad to see have come to an end – for whatever reason.  There was something insidious about that movement & I’m glad it’s over.  And who could ever forget screaming like a banshee at the mayor.  Puleeze!
We’ve got to be better than that.  We’re on the side of right and must maintain the high standards we require of our leaders.  Here I am bashing my friends and colleagues so I need to say something about myself to cut me down to size & put me in my place.  OK.  I confess to a weakness for bad boys; smart ones; preferable sharp dressers.  Nuff said. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


I’ve got a lot to learn.  I never participated in city government before I came to Vallejo.  I don’t know how things work.  In the old days my activism was grandiose intellectual coffee-house BS.  Now I flap around like a stranded seal, trying this and that, always working for truth and justice; at least I’m on the right side – ain’t I?  The good thing is the game is accessible in Vallejo; even I can say my piece, as though it might do any good.  I’ve got a front row seat at City Hall where I get to watch political crime and corruption in 3-D and living color nearly every Tuesday night.  It’s history in the making; the finest entertainment in town (beside the Empress Theatre, of course), and the best teacher if I pay attention.

Listening to our untutored councilors try to figure out rules for cultivating and delivering marijuana made me think I was back in the old world, eavesdropping on a bunch of rabbis arguing some obscure Talmudic point.  The mountain of considerations for each decision for each rule is huge.  How many inches a baby plant may be before it can be moved from its mother?  What is the precise size of the growing area allowed for a vender?  Where may it be?  Fortunately, the lawyer for the dispensary gang set everyone straight when he said, let’s be real, it has to grow somewhere.

As I see it, city staff runs the whole show.  I took part in the citizens workshops that led to the creation of the new General Plan, aka Propel Vallejo, which has been snatched from its cradle by our legal staff because a “certain applicant has spent thousands of dollars” (her words) on his project of putting a deep water port and cement factory on the waterfront that we, the citizens have rightfully claimed to be ours in our new General Plan, and we had better not say anything about it because that’s against the law. 

They’re fixing the pipes and water storage tanks in the parking lot across the street from my complex.  The report claims that “Rerouting the surface storm water flow will also reduce the risk of flooding of the lower levels in the event of a strong storm coupled with a power outage.” 

Man, that scares me.  Will the river overflow?  How long can the power be out?  I get oxygen from a machine that runs on electric power.  In case that storm and outage come to my house, I have 4 auxiliary tanks on my patio that hold 72 hours of oxygen, so they say, and that’s it.  I’ve asked neighbors to help me if the juice stops.  And if you’re around, please come over and help. 

One of the first storms of the year knocked my only tomato plant over, breaking the pot and strewing earth on the patio.  I had to get rid of the plant but managed to save about 15 marble sized green orbs.  What could I do with them?  You can’t eat them, they’re no good to cook, but I didn’t want to throw them out, so I pickled them.  Got the recipe from the nice pickle vendor at Moschetti’s on Saturday morning.  Those babies were so delicious I want to pickle everything in sight. 

One of the most interesting things I ever learned about self-defense is when you tear up lettuce leaves they produce more anti-oxidents, so always tear your lettuce when you make a salad. 

Monday, January 18, 2016


To those who warned me not to trust the Mayor I say this: throughout all the time we worked together on what I’d come to believe was “our” park, mine and the mayor’s, Osby Davis behaved honorably, kept his word, and fulfilled every promise he gave me about beautifying the patch of land known as Independence Park (which is currently being used as a giant bird bath). 

Yes, he did!

If you have any doubts, please take a look at Item E under section # 8 of the Action Calendar of the city council meeting on January 26th.  “REQUEST FROM MAYOR DAVIS TO PLACE THE FOLLOWING ITEM ON A FUTURE CITY COUNCIL AGENDA: PRESENTATION ON A WATERFRONT ART WALK PROPOSAL Recommendation: City Council to consider request from Mayor Davis to schedule a presentation on a Waterfront Art Walk proposal on a future City Council agenda.”  
This small item is proof he means business.  

From the outset, Mayor Davis told me his intention was to get that park done before he leaves office, or at least get it to the point where there was no going back, and that’s exactly what he’s doing.  I was right to believe him and work with him, as far as we could go.  I can only applaud his efforts.  

The problem is he’s going full speed ahead without me now.  He’s found an artist who wants to fill the entire waterfront, from my house all the way up to the bridge and on the streets as well, with sculpture that will depict and glorify the history of Vallejo.  He brings mighty sponsorship with him.  This artist is a nice fellow; I’d like to sit down and have a glass of wine with him, but his style of work is not to my taste and I think it’s wrong for Vallejo.  I related these thoughts to my friend, the Mayor, who no longer returns my calls. 

Oh, the ironies of life are cruel.  I will get a park, but it won’t be my park.  I yodeled that tune when it was taken over by PB, and I’m howling it again now that the Mayor has taken it over.  Yet, it’s not done yet; we’ve yet to hear from the fat lady. 

I recently took part in the development of an “arts element” to be included in the Next General Plan, and that element foretells the reconstitution of the much needed Vallejo Commission for Arts and Culture.  And, it’s my opinion that it should be the Vallejo Arts and Culture Commission that takes up the question of whether an artist’s work meets their criteria for art in public places of our fair city.  Until the commission is established no permanent Art should be installed on our waterfront, Parks or other public spaces.  That’s my two cents.  Otherwise, it’s a free-for-all, or so it appears to me when I walk out in the streets of Laredo, I mean Vallejo. 

My memoir is still for sale: 

Happy New Year, and all that.

Saturday, January 02, 2016


I visited the Vallejo City website to express my thoughts about housing and wandered into the section about Mare Island.  What a place!  What a situation!  If I was a developer I’d buy up the entire western shore and as much land as I could get, and create a Martha’s Vineyard type of place, with beach homes and apartments, protected beaches, little town centers with shops etc. etc.  It would have its own ferry to San Francisco and other towns on the bay, maybe a car ferry.  Hey!
From the pictures on the website those Mare Island warehouses look fabulous.  As a New Yorker I think of the old deserted buildings in Soho and the meat packing district that became million-dollar lofts, high class international art galleries, and home to some of the fanciest restaurants in the city.  I don't understand why this property hasn’t been snatched up by smart investors, especially since they'll get a ferry service to the mainland very soon.  Personally, I’d love to see a bridge at the southern section of Curtola to get most of the traffic off Mare Island Way. 
While I’m at it, those parking lots across from the ferry are in the wrong place.  Put three or four multi-storied parking structures on Santa Clara Street and allow the waterfront to become the beautiful place it should be, with shops and walks and outdoor cafes.  We can make better use of that place, dontcha think? 

Let me ask you: which would you rather do after stepping off the Vallejo ferry?  Stop off for a drink at a beautiful bar with a view of the sunset, sit down in a cozy tea room/pastry shop, eat a good dinner or grab a stand-up snack, purchase some last minute grocery items, a loaf of artisan bread, look at an art exhibit, buy a book, eat an ice-cream, and more fun activities like the above…… or go to the dentist?  The city should buy him out; rent him a nice spot at the bottom of Georgia Street, and let him drill, baby, drill.

Imagine visiting Vallejo.  Whatever for, you may well ask?  What is there to do in Vallejo?  I took a drive down Lemon Street recently and was inspired by the beauty of the long, tree-lined lane along the river that leads to the old Sperry Mill, which later became General Mills, with its lovely old buildings and beautiful river vistas.  Why not re-purpose those buildings, like London turned their electric utilities station on the Thames River into the Tate Modern, one of the great museums in Europe?

My idea is to turn some of that gorgeous waterfront property into a world-class spa and health resort, with shops, restaurants, a five-star hotel, a pleasant motel, and a youth hostel, expensive and reasonable places to eat; a condominium complex, senior and student housing, a pier for ferries and other boats that bring tourists and visitors like Mark Zukerberg and his wife, who will sail over in their google-driven speedboat for a great seafood lunch and an afternoon of mud baths and massage.  Movie stars would rent beautiful river-view suites while they get Botox treatments and recuperate from plastic surgery.  

It needn’t be only for rich tourists.  Let’s have a learning center with free seminars for Vallejo residents, and courses on marine life and tidelands, good nutrition, free weight-lifting and yoga classes; a carousel, a fine planetarium, a great day-care center. What about an art film house? And a fine, fitting home and performance hall for our great symphony orchestra - it's about time!

How about this: the hottest night-club in the Bay Area, right down there on the shores of our southern waterfront, with top notch DJ’s and world-class entertainment, where guests can arrive directly by boat at its dedicated pier, and let’s call it THE CEMENT FACTORY. 

Vallejo is gorgeous; it could also be prosperous, and clean and healthy at the same time.  I can easily imagine a beautiful river city, with a thriving, integrated community, great schools, active citizens, and elected officials who listen to and represent the people.  

You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…