Dave Rice 4:30 p.m., Sept. 19
- Community Blog
- Encanto Gas Holder
Jim Hill and my Happy Heart Attack Anniversary
It is now a year since I had my last heart attack sufficiently painful enough to have me call for an emergency lift to the hospital. In the last few days, I have had enough physical complaints to remind me that cardiologists predicted I could continue to have twenty or more such episodes before running out of coronary artery and other cardiac vessel blockages, and I am quite aware of those specialists' opinion when it comes to any reasonable prospect of me having open heart surgery with that pesky aneurysm on the right coronary artery.
Pretty much, I should be dead, but I am not dead yet, so happy heart attack anniversary to me.
I want to take this occasion, coming shortly after the memorial service for James Douglas Hill on July 29, 2010, to say a couple of things. Jim Hill was a scoutmaster of Troop 376 out of Saint Phillip's Church in Lemon Grove in the 1960s and 1970s, a United States Navy veteran of World War II, and a man's man. While he was scoutmaster, there was always at least one patrol from Troop 376 among the best in all of the scout troops in the entire Grossmont council area, usually more. Although I didn't stay in scouting as I entered high school, I did emulate his son Robert by eventually becoming a JROTC cadet lieutenant colonel as the battalion's senior staff officer three or more years after Robert's graduation. I carried the lessons on self-reliance and personal responsibility I was taught by the Hills and other scouts older then me forward through life, and if I have been recognized as a national Minority Leaders Fellow after being student body president at San Diego City College and an Outstanding Young American in my lifetime, then I owe all of it to my elders, teachers and professors, Jim Hill of the Choctaw Nation among them. God bless them all.
When I had that last greatest heart attack, I pretty much knew I was in deep trouble as the lead individual plaintiff without attorney in Encanto Gas Holder Victims versus San Diego Gas & Electric and Sempra Energy, a state court Proposition 65 private enforcement action in the public interest. The hearing for defendants' motion for summary judgment was only another month away, I was still gathering facts and trying to file papers in opposition to summary judgment in what Judge Yuri Hofmann would later call a “herculean” effort, and now I was flat on my back in the ICU with no laptop and fellow plaintiffs too polite to let me know what was going on in the world outside my hospital window.
The main reason I still had faith in what us plaintiffs were attempting to do was the stack of evidence against the defendants, much of which was used to obtain criminal guilty verdicts in the 2007 federal environmental matter entitled United States of America v. SDG&E. I am firm in my sincere belief that there is a constitutional question regarding the District Court not admitting California NVLAP-standard asbestos test evidence in re-trial when Congress stated in the United States Codes that the more-stringent state evidence should have been admitted, but as a disabled crime victim in that matter, I have no desire, no assets, and no time for federal legal appeals on constitutional questions of what is the law of the land over District Court judges. That I leave for all of the rest of the crime victims who may still find lawyers, and other residents and Orange Line riders of Encanto and Lemon Grove who may survive me only to end up with ferrous asbestos bodies and lung cancer later in life.
With all of the calls for our best and brightest to dedicate themselves to improving our economy and maintaining our strategic technological superiority in the world, we need to have some of our best and brightest keeping an eye on our leading institutions and preparing themselves for times when those leading institutions implode through institutionalized incompetence. Washington, Henry, Jefferson, Madison, and the rest of the founding fathers would have us quickly disabuse ourselves of the notion that government exists to solve all of our problems; indeed, they led us through the Revolutionary War on the premise that self-governance and individual responsibility begins with each of us as individuals, and if we as individuals are not morally straight in our own actions, then it is rather misguidedly simple of us to expect that the power of a federal or state bureaucrat somehow insulates those members of government from corruption.