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Another Perspective

A Little Early California History

California today is an open, welcoming community. It hasn't always been this way. The State has had its share of white supremacists in leadership positions and has honored some of them by naming precious resources after them. We should never forget our history. Here is one example.

John Bigler, a Democrat, in 1851 was running to become the third Governor of California. It's reported on a campaign stop in Hangtown, he visited a floriculturist. While in her shop, he admired a plant with a profusion of white blossoms. The woman smiled and told him the admired flower came from a bulb. She promised to send him some for his inauguration. On the day Bigler was sworn in, the woman sent him a peck of potatoes.

Bigler was popular during his early years in office. His stern policies and harsh verbal attacks on the Chinese were well received. When he first came to power, the capital was in Vallejo, but it lacked the facilities, supplies, and furniture to fulfill the function. Bigler argued the capital should be moved to his adopted home of Sacramento. It was granted, but flooding problems prevented Sacramento from retaining the seat of government. It moved again, this time to Benicia. To encourage the move, Benicia's leaders built a building for the legislature's exclusive use. Nevertheless, Benicia didn't work out either. Government returned to Sacramento and in February 1854 Governor Bigler signed a bill making Sacramento the official Capital of California.

The Governor's popularity peaked in 1854 at the start of his second term. Democrats were the majority in the legislature and pushed through a bill to rename Lake Bonpland, "Lake Bigler". It was John C. Fremont who'd named the high Sierra lake, "Bonpland". Fremont's name never caught on. People preferred to call it "Mountain Lake" or "Fremont's Lake." Maps began identifying it as Lake Bigler in 1853 and the legislature made it official the following year.

Bigler's popularity faded when it became evident he didn't handle State funds wisely and that he supported the South in the Civil War. When he lost favor, so did naming the lake after him. Maps returned to identifying it as "Mountain Lake".  In 1862 it was suggested by Union supporters that the lake be given the name "Tahoe," the name used by a local tribe.

"Tahoe" didn't receive universal acceptance either. Mark Twain mocked the name, urging a return to Bigler. The Placerville Mountain Democrat started an unfounded rumor that "Tahoe" was the name of an Indian who preyed on whites. In response to the criticisms, in 1870 the legislature changed the official name back to "Lake Bigler." It remained this way for approximately thirty years, when the Bigler name again fell out of favor. By the turn of the twentieth century most people were referring to the lake as "Tahoe", though the Legislature didn't officially change the lake's name until 1945.

John Bigler was a man of his times. It's good he is no longer honored for it.

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Split Up California

The latest proposal to split up California has been put on hold. It follows—are you ready—two hundred twenty other attempts since California became a state. Be assured I’m not writing about the two hundred twenty attempts, only the early ones that came the closest to being approved. *

Spaniards  Read More 
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A Forgotten American Hero

John Armor Bingham (1815-1900) is one of those historical figures who dedicated his life to making living conditions better for all people, succeeded, and then was forgotten. I wish I was related to him, perhaps named after him, but I’m not.

Yale constitutional law professor Akhil Reed Amar wrote of Bingham:
Even as  Read More 
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Why It’s a Mistake to Interpret Dreams

The other day a friend told me he’d been asked to interpret another person’s dream. He wanted to know what I thought about dream interpretation. Here are my thoughts.
Dreams function as a bridge between consciousness and the unconscious. They’re able to do this because dream images are symbols. Like all  Read More 
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The Life of Alfred Nolan

The following is an account of Alfred Dolan. His story offers a glimpse into the life of prospectors during the California Gold Rush.

Al was born and raised in the Plymouth, Massachusetts. At this time Plymouth was a relatively isolated coastal community dependent on fishing, shipbuilding, and the manufacturing of rope and related products.  Read More 
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The Conflict between Donald Trump's Values and the Values of Christmas

One of the reasons Donald Trump has risen to a position of prominence is due to his being a successful businessman. He is good at making money and promises to use his skills to restore America to greatness. It doesn’t surprise me his rise coincides with the decline of religious belief. Polls indicate  Read More 
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August, 2016 Health Update

A quick update on my chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I am in a trial study that is looking at how two drugs work together on the cancer cells. One I take by infusion: Gazyva. I have experience with this drug, having had it in my last trial study. I am again having a positive response  Read More 
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A brief Update on my Health

I haven’t been blogging because I was putting all of my energy into Hangtown II. Then about March/April my CLL fired up. I was hoping for a minimum of two years of “normal” life, but got just one. Fatigue, night sweats, weight loss increased. My blood lab numbers reflected the renewed activity  Read More 
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The Enlightened Ego

I became worked up last night when the nightly news reported a story about current political events. The people I disagree with were acting in a way that made me furious. I dealt with the situation by eating an ice cream bar. That helped with my upset spirit, but didn’t help my  Read More 
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Helping Children Grieve at Christmas

I was poised to begin a series of blogs about death when the horrible shootings in San Bernardino took place. So I am juggling the order of a couple of the blogs. Today’s blog is a reprint from the Compassionate Friends of Los Angeles, Vol. 25, No. 12-December, 2009, which I found in the  Read More 
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