First, let me welcome you to California Eye formerly Nye-Gateway to Nevada’s Rurals.
I hope you find the blog interesting and informative so that you will come back again and again. I try to update the blog each day with new material.
You may find it a bit different to see that the blog includes political, genealogical, communication and web design categories. Kind of an odd mixture, I admit. That is only because I find each category attracts my time and interests. Rather than try to manage multiple blogs I decided to try and handle all the topics on the same blog.
As for me, I live in Paradise, Butte County, California. Paradise is in the mountains near Chico.
I am 77 years old. So is my wife. She was born in Texas. I was born in Oklahoma. We met in California and married 57 years ago. We spawned three children, two of whom still live. Our youngest was killed in an auto accident. We have five grand children and one great granddaughter.
My father was born in 1888 on a farm in Kansas. He became a school teacher, then made a career change to oil field worker. He was working in the oil fields in Harden City, Oklahoma during World War II. We moved rather frequently from oil field lease to oil field lease during my grade school years.
In 1945 shortly after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died, my father bought a 40 acre farm near Horntown, Oklahoma. I was just entering my teen years. Dad had an oil field job which provided the primary family income. The task of farming fell to me. Each morning dad would tell me what to do that day with respect to the farm.
A typical day would be milking cows each morning and evening, feeding the hogs and chickens, and plowing ground with a team of horses. Evenings replicated the milking and livestock feeding routine.
The most important lesson I learned from my father was simply how to work. It does take some self-discipline to get out bed each day and steadily remain at work accomplishing the necessary tasks.
In July 1950 I enlisted in the United States Air Force. I was age 17. I had completed my Junior year in High School. I went through the first half of boot camp at Lackland Air Force Base at San Antonio, Texas. The last half of boot camp was completed at Sheppard Air Force Base at Wichita Falls, Texas.
I was shipped to Tachikawa Air Force Base, just outside Tokyo, Japan in March 1952. I was fortunate to be assigned to a Personnel Audit Team with which I traveled all over the Far East. That included all of the islands of Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Guam, Philippines and Iwo Jima.
In September 1953 I was returned to Sheppard Air Force Base where I completed my enlistment in 1954.
I obtained my high school diploma via GED. I entered Ventura Junior College, Ventura, California under the G.I. Bill.
I met and married my wife while I completed college. I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Education, with a minor in Psychology from the University of California-Fresno.
During my life I worked as a farm laborer beginning on the farm in Oklahoma. My first real job began on a hay baler. Many other farm work jobs ensued until I entered the Air Force. After leaving the Air Force I worked as a psychiatric technician trainee at Camarillo State Hospital at Camarillo, California while attending Junior College in Ventura, California. I then obtained employment with the Southern Pacific Railroad, working on a construction crew building a signal installation along the railroad tracts from Calipatria to the border of Mexico near Brawley, California.
After marriage my wife and I lived at Visalia, California where I continued in Junior College at College of the Sequoias. When she became pregnant with our first child I secured employment with a gas company in the San Fernando Valley reading gas meters. We needed the money to pay for the birth expenses of our first child, a daughter.
We returned to Visalia where I found employment in the Tulare County Juvenile Hall as a boy’s supervisor. I commuted from Visalia to Fresno to complete upper division college classes to obtain my Bachelor’s Degree. I was promoted in the Tulare County Probation Department to a position of Juvenile Probation Officer.
As a Probation Officer I was constantly preparing probation reports about juvenile delinquent boys with recommendations to the Juvenile Court judge as to sentences to impose.
I became the first Juvenile Traffic Hearing Officer of Tulare County. Basically I was the judge for all juvenile traffic cases. My experiences with the Probation Department sparked an interest in law.
Living in Visalia presented no opportunity to go to a law school. Lacking any other avenue I took a correspondence course in law for the first year. Meanwhile I applied for and was employed as an Adult Parole Agent with the California Department of Corrections. I was assigned to the Parole Office in Bakersfield, California.
One of my parolees was Merle Haggard. He was not yet famous but was playing in the various honky tonks around Bakersfield. He had been released on parole from San Quentin. I did have a minor role in Merle Haggard’s career.
He came into the parole office to request permission to travel outside California to Las Vegas, Nevada to accept a job offer he had received from a nightclub there. Protocol called for me to secure the pertinent information, write a report and transmit the report through channels up to headquarters in Sacramento. Sacramento would, in turn, decide if they approved the request or not, and if so would transmit the paperwork to Carson City, Nevada, which in turn would send it on to the Parole Office in Las Vegas to check out and whether or not they would be willing to accept Haggard’s presence in Nevada.
The job offer Haggard had was contained in a telegram. The night club needed his services the following Monday. Realizing that following protocol would preclude Haggard’s appearance in Las Vegas the following Monday because it would take probably a month or more just to get the paperwork back and forth, I telephoned the Parole Office in Las Vegas directly, explained the situation to the Las Vegas Parole Office. I told them Haggard had been performing well on parole, and that the job offer was a good opportunity for him, that I proposed sending him direct to Las Vegas so he could accept the job while the paperwork could follow him. They agreed.
As it turned out his trip to Las Vegas put him on the path to an illustrious music career, an award as Country Music Entertainer of the Year in Nashville, his picture on the cover of Time magazine, and ultimately a pardon from then California Governor Ronald Reagan.
I completed the first year of the correspondence law course, took the “baby” bar in Los Angeles, a prerequisite to continuing on. I fell a few points short of passing the baby bar, but was close enough that I realized I could succeed in law school if I could just get to one.
I put in to headquarters of the Department of Corrections in Sacramento for a transfer to a parole office in Los Angeles. Nobody in their right mind would want to be a parole agent in Los Angeles, so I thought I had a good chance at getting the transfer. Once in LA I could go to USC or UCLA law school.
I sent my transfer request in and received a phone call from the Assistant Regional Administrator in Sacramento asking if I would consider a transfer to the Sacramento Parole Office where I could attend the McGeorge School of Law, later amalgamated with the University of the Pacific.
That worked. I entered McGeorge School of Law in 1964 enrolling in their night school. I was 31 years old, married with three children. I worked full time while attending school carrying a full load. My wife also worked full time with the California Personnel Department. My GI bill benefits had been totally consumed in attaining my Bachelor’s Degree. Law school had to be paid for out of our income–and law school is expensive. The lesson I learned from my dad all those years before about how to work actually got us through all that.
While in law school I transferred from the Parole Division into Folsom Prison in an effort to get more steady working hours. I worked at Folsom as a Correctional Counselor for about two years and then transferred again into the Department of Corrections headquarters across the street from the Capitol building as an Administrative Analyst.
I graduated from McGeorge School of Law in 1968 obtaining a Juris Doctor degree. I passed the California bar exam and was sworn in as a lawyer in Los Angeles.
I became a Deputy District Attorney for the Ventura County District Attorney’s office. While there I was promoted to Director of Municipal Court Operations and later as head of the Family Support Division, supervising a 70+ staff of clerical, accounting, and lawyer staff. I have tried all kinds of cases, misdemeanors and felonies from shoplifting to homicides.
I ran for District Attorney of Ventura County in 1978, my first foray into politics. I lost in the general election.
I then accepted a position as Assistant District Attorney of Butte County, California at Oroville. I was both an administrator and trial lawyer while there prosecuting felony cases of all types.
I opened my own law office and finished out 27 years of practicing law, about half as a prosecutor and half as a criminal defense lawyer.
In 1999 I encountered some serious heart conditions and decided that rather than die of a heart attack with my boots on I would retire from the practice of law.
My wife and I both retired, sold our home in Paradise, California and moved to Pahrump, Nye County, Nevada.
I became involved in Democratic politics, genealogy and web designing following retirement. That in turn led meÂ to writing blogs.
I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Realizing that at my age my time on this earth was rapidly drawing to a close. Not wanting to leave my wife alone in Pahrump, we decided to return to Paradise where she would have family support after my departure from this life.
So, there, you have the gist of it all. At age 78 I know that my future time is far shorter that all that has gone before. My motive in writing so much about politics is my grand children and great grandchild. I’m hopeful I can, in some way, make their lives easier.