Love’s Last Ride

Love’s Last Ride–it has the ring of a romance novel, in the telling of a bitter-sweet, heartbreaking love story that’s about to become undone, or possibly a steamy romance that’s fallen to its own fiery, passionate flames. Well, in a sense, it is. But this last ride isn’t fiction. It’s about a true-life, love-infused romantic excursion of thundering motorcycle enthusiasts, rallying and riding together atop the dark, white-line-dotted matrix of Los Angeles freeways, in supporting a common cause that has gone on for the past thirty-one years.

The recurring rumble of high octane, chrome-emblazoned steel stallions has filled the Southern California black ribbons’ air, by giving notice that something big and special is rolling in like heaven’s thunder, riding into its forth decade of giving. GETTING READY TO ROLL

From the reverberating fervor of thousands of exhaust pipes that have trumpeted their supportive embrace throughout all these years, it’s been led by a leather jacketed, oft times white bearded, kind-hearted soul, whose inner passion for a cause is always there, as is evidenced by the affable smile he wears, year in, and year out—one affectionately called “Ugly Oliver” Shokouh (Show-koo).

The long, rolling tribute in support of what matters most, has been rolling on two, three, and even four wheels since 1984, bathed in the radiant wash of the golden Southern California sunlight, or the occasional wispy rinse of cleansing rain throughout its storied run.BIKERS ON THE HIGHWAY

So what does rolling on two, three and even four wheels have to do with love? Because it centers around a one-of-a-kind motorcycle event that has inspired the hearts of its attendees to dig deep, showing their heartfelt love for those less fortunate, and in so doing, having raised over 24 million dollars in charitable support.

With the great support of motorcycle folks coming in from all over the country — and the world to attend, and with the celebrities that have shown up in support of the Love Ride… It just shows how much Oliver is loved. —Jay Leno

Sadly, the event will culminate with an epic, grand finale, when some estimated ten thousand plus leather clad, boot wearin’, tattoo sportin’ revelers, roll out under the Southern California sun, saddled astride their iron horses or in old school custom hot rods, when as one, they head down the black ribbon highways of Southern California, on Sunday, October 18th. It doesn’t matter what you ride or drive—just show up. It’s for a great cause!

Oliver has a big heart. He also knew that most of the motorcycle community has a big heart, and realized he could blend their passion for motorcycles and giving. The idea behind the “Love Ride” is great. Put a ride together, throw a rock ‘n roll party, and raise money. It is fun, and a great way to do something positive in our community. Oliver has done so much for the motorcycle community in SoCal. I am proud to be on the Board of the “Love Ride” and to be Oliver’s friend!” ~ Robert Patrick

The world famous Love Ride, will find the end of its glory days of charitable giving, when staking its last, marking signpost #32, at the end of its treasured highway — when the kickstands fly up at Glendale Harley-Davidson on that final Sunday morning in October, and for the last time, hit the asphalt at Castaic Lake, marking the end of the ride and the end of its great legacy of open-handed support that’s been felt throughout Southern California, and the country.JAY - OLIVER - ROBERT HI-RES

What is, the Love Ride?

The Love Ride has been my dad’s shining, life’s jewel.
—Emily Shokouh: General Manager, Glendale Harley-Davidson

It is the single largest, one day, charity fundraising motorcycle event in the world, and one that has been held annually in Southern California, and in Switzerland, too. As its founder, “Ugly Oliver” tells it, “Love Ride became a labor of love.” It sprang from an inaugural event that began in 1981, partnering with the local Glendale Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) and Oliver’s Glendale Harley-Davidson, when setting out to organize what ultimately rolled out of the shop as the first of its kind event called Biker Carnival. Says Oliver, “Harley wanted to create a better image by distancing its brand away from the ‘biker’ mindset, so in 1984 we renamed it The Love Ride.”

The Love Ride has fundraised for organizations such as the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), United Service Organization (USO), Autism Speaks, the LA Times Reading by 9 Program, and offered long term support for Glendale Community College. This year, it culminates its mission of giving and support with its selected beneficiary: Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).

Entertainment industry celebrities and recording industry rock icons have come out in support of the Love Ride since its inception, scribing their names to a list of caring support.

Oliver, My Friend… I want to praise you, for all your dedication in helping others. For all the wonderful years that you have brought many of us together with open hearts in making “The Love Ride”— not only one of my favorite rides of the year, but one of the most important… benefiting so many causes. It’s been an Honor assisting you over the years. You have a heart of Gold. Love you Brother! Till next time, I’ll see you in the wind… ~ Emilio Rivera

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHEasyrider legend Peter Fonda came on board in the beginning. Standup comedian, motorcycle, and car enthusiast, Jay Leno of The Tonight Show fame, saddled up as Grand Marshal in 1985. Ladies heartthrob, and Renegade television star, the motorcycle-riding Reno Raines, aka Lorenzo Lamas, rode in alongside the thundering roar of bikes early on. He was joined by The Doors lead guitarist, Robby Krieger. Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Unit and current CBS hit show Scorpion co-star Robert Patrick rode along with Sons of Anarchy co-star Emilio Rivera, who portrayed the feared Mayans president, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer film/TV actress and model, Kristy Swanson, has attended several Love Ride events as well. All of these, riding in on a mix of scoots, will share the platform with other celebrities supporting this year’s grand finale.

I’ve attended several Love Ride events, and have always applauded what Oliver and his dedicated volunteers have done. Their givers hearts and hard work, has rallied support from the SoCal motorcycle community, and beyond, and helped so many. I just can’t believe this is the last one! I know it will be a great time for all, as it always is, and sense how bitter-sweet it must be for Oliver, too… and how his emotions will find their tears. Thank you for what you’ve inspired, Oliver! What an honor it is to be a part of Love Ride 32! And thanks, for having me along… for the last ride! ~ Kristy Swanson

Amid the escalating hustle, bustle and agonizing organizational uncertainties of bringing to a close the final roundup of The Love Ride, Oliver graciously spent the time to answer some questions about the storied legacy his labor of love leaves, and supporting luminaries that have been involved throughout the years.

ALIVE: How did Love Ride find its wheels, which has made it such a wonderful labor of love in your life?

OLIVER: It was like driving a nail, when you hit it right on the head! Love Ride, was the event the baby boomers that fueled the whole Harley-Davidson success story needed during the mid-eighties. That, along with the new evolution engine Softail models, helped increase our sales to a new plateau. Events such as the Love Ride, prospered. In our case, the fact that we had Hollywood celebrities in our back yard who were buying Harleys, and attending positive events like the Love Ride put us on the map, and got our wheels rolling. Our first year, Love Ride raised forty-two thousand to support MDA. With Harley we said, “We’re going to get out there and ride so that one day these MDA children that are not so fortunate and healthy, can one day get out and ride, too!” Glendale Harley-Davidson doesn’t benefit as much as folks would think. It’s not about profit for the dealership, but raising money and giving to the charities we’ve been involved with over the years. The Love Ride has never been about the dealership’s financial gain.OLIVER - KRYSTI HOULE - HEART SHOWS HIGH-RES

ALIVE: How did Easyrider’s Peter Fonda and you meet, and what enticed him to get involved, and how has he supported Love Ride throughout the years?

OLIVER: We asked Peter to do our very first television PSA (Public Service Announcement) to support The Love Ride. He did, and it came from his heart. He won the PSA award of the year. Since then, he has supported our efforts, as well as becoming a good friend. I think in all the years we’ve done The Love Ride that Peter has only missed a few, due to his work obligations.

ALIVE: How did Jay Leno become involved with The Love Ride? How did it all begin, and what has kept him involved?

OLIVER: Jay was a standup comic then, who made an appearance on the Johnny Carson show. Now and then, we needed someone good on stage, and he kindly offered to help us out. Jay is the one who brought the Hollywood contingent to support Love Ride. He has been our grand marshal ever since, and plans to join us again this year.

It’s been a great honor, and a lot of fun, to have been involved with The Love Ride for all these years being Oliver’s Grand Marshal. It’s a great cause, for the various charities that The Love Ride supports, and ending it with another great cause, Wounded Warrior Project. I’m proud to say that throughout all this time with The Love Ride, there have not been any incidents that have put a black eye on the event. This is a nice family community of motorcycle enthusiasts, and I have been surprised and amazed at their dedication. It’s been great getting to know Willie G. Davidson — he has his name on the bike! And who would have thought that Larry Hagman rode a Harley? With the great support of motorcycle folks coming in from all over the country –and the world to attend—and with the celebrities that have shown up in support of The Love Ride, it just shows how much Oliver is loved.” ~ Jay Leno

ALIVE: Throughout the years with Love Ride primarily supporting MDA, you’ve had different ambassadors. There are several photos on the Love Ride website of MDA Love Ride ambassador, Christopher Houle. How special was your relationship?

OLIVER: I got to know the Houle family pretty well, and witnessed firsthand, how difficult it is for these families to cope with a child suffering from MDA. We became good friends, and Christopher looked forward to the Love Ride every year. He started Love Ride 9, in 1992, when he was eleven. His last Love Ride was in 2005, ending with Love Ride 22. Christopher lost his battle, and passed in 2006…

ALIVE: The Love Ride appears to have been a family affair with your kids, and grand kids seeing photos placed on the website. How has Love Ride impacted your family over the years?

OLIVER: It has been a double-edged sword. I’m glad that my family members are involved with the Love Ride… but, it also kept me away from home and family a lot, as it is a lot of hard work with many evenings spent visiting various clubs or groups to invite them to ride. My daughters, Emily and Suzanne, became involved with Love Ride 15 by helping me turn all the nuts and bolts. That year, with Love Ride 15, we became a foundation.OLIVER FAMILY LOVE RIDE 22 HIGH-RES

My dad is a hard worker with everything he does. He has been a great mentor, and instilled a good work ethic in all us kids at an early age. He has a wonderful spirit, a generous heart, and possesses natural charisma and charm. He’s also a very modest man. Dad made sure that we always gave to charity, even if we didn’t profit a lot with the dealership. The Love Ride has been my dad’s shining, life’s jewel. It’s a family affair, and a good family time spent together doing something so positive. It’s really bitter-sweet, because this is the last one. I know this year will be very emotional for him. I am seeing it in his eyes. After 32 years… it’s been wearing, but so enriching as well. ~ Emily Shokouh

ALIVE: How did actors Robert Patrick, Lorenzo Lamas and Emilio Rivera become involved with Love Ride?

OLIVER: They have all been customers, who got behind the idea and became some great disciples of Love Ride. Lorenzo saw the Renegade TV show custom bike on our showroom floor, and he knew it had to be the bike on the show.

The Love Ride has, and always will be the best example of the generosity of the people I call my brothers and sisters in motorcycling. Oliver Shokouh has been a friend to me and pioneer of charitable giving for over 30 years. He has set the standard in motorcycle charity rides for decades – changing the ‘biker’ stereotype – and remains the leader in money raised for so many worthwhile organizations. I’m going to miss those early October mornings, getting my bike gassed, and ready for the special kickoff at Glendale HD—and the ride with thousands out to Castaic Lake. The rock stars, celebrities, law enforcement and the great folks all giving their time and passion for this ride, isn’t just for the charity, but for its founder as well. What a legacy Oliver has left with his motorcycle community. It’s a mix of emotions for me this year. I’ll obviously miss The Love Ride, but so thankful for all it has done for so many needed charities over the years. ~ Lorenzo Lamas

ALIVE: Robby Krieger, former lead guitarist for The Doors, seems to be a constant shining rock star of support with Love Ride. Tell us about your friendship, and how it came to be.

OLIVER: I got to know Robby a few years before the Love Ride got started, and when I asked him if he would support us, he was quick to agree, and has played in some thirteen Love Ride events since. The Doors have always been my favorite rock group, and to become friends with Robby has been fun!

ALIVE: This year’s Love Ride grand finale support goes toward Wounded Warrior Project. Why them?

OLIVER: We have supported many charities, and our board of directors makes a decision on the beneficiary once a year. It was brought to our attention how important the Wounded Warrior Project cause is, due to the devastating number of home side veterans who have problems coping with their lives after they get home. With twenty-eight Iraq-Afghanistan veterans committing suicide every day, it is a big problem that needs awareness and help.

ALIVE: Harley-Davidson design icon: Willie G. Davidson, appears to have had longstanding involvement with Love Ride. What keeps him coming back? Is it mostly about company goodwill for Harley-Davidson, or is it really about something more?WILLIE G - NANCY - OLIVER - TWO THUMBS UP

OLIVER: Willie is the best ambassador for Harley-Davidson. He likes attending events, and listening to customers. He is a good listener, and is most gracious. I was a relatively new dealer (I opened Glendale HD in 1976), and hardly knew him. I called Willie, and he agreed to join us. Since then, we have become good friends. Willie has been very instrumental in support of Love Ride. I know it comes from his heart.

Oliver — Love Ride. Two inseparable names that created help for many through charities. Nancy and I were proud to participate; enjoying the great rides, music and camaraderie. Thank you very much, Oliver. You did a hell of  a great job!                                                                                                                                    ~ Willie G. and Nancy

ALIVE: Is this really going to be the last Love Ride? The legacy building of outreach and charitable support ends here?

OLIVER: Yes, the last Love Ride as we know it. We asked around, and couldn’t find any young folks to take it over. They’re just not into it. We do intend to keep the foundation alive, and find some sources of revenue to fund it so we can always be here to help those less fortunate. Putting on the Love Ride every year, truly is, a labor of love. After 32 years of doing this—my group of volunteers and me are worn out. We are proud of our 32 years, and feel it has been a good, long run.

ALIVE: Now that you’re staking up that #32 signpost, can you tell us how this is hitting your heart, and tell us about some special moments you experienced?

OLIVER: It is a bitter-sweet decision, calling this the end. I made some lifetime friends during Love Ride, which I cherish, the most—some famous; some infamous! Knowing that we are raising money for some great causes we believe in, and creating awareness, feels great. And seeing a smile on one of our beneficiaries faces… makes all of it, worth doing.

ALIVE: So what comes next? Will there be a Love Ride reunion ride in the future, or will the kickstands stay on the concrete?

OLIVER: Kickstands should NEVER stay on the concrete! I intend to continue riding, and hope that after we catch our breath, there will be a Love Ride reunion, or remembrance of some sort. And hopefully, we will once again find a way to raise funds for those less fortunate.

As one love-struck by the allure of twisting the throttle on his Harley, hitting the open road, and feeling the wind’s rush of purifying redemption in my face, I too know the infectious, down to the bone, love effect of riding a motorcycle, so I also know why Oliver found his path of destiny in creating the world’s premier, one of a kind, motorcycle fundraising event benefiting so many over the years.

“Ugly Oliver,” may God Bless you for your fervent, passionate giver’s heart, and for putting so much joy into the lives of those you’ve touched along the way. But most of all, thanks for giving and caring so compassionately about what matters most: Love!

Emilio’s rolling sentiments that rest with everyone, conveys it best: “Love you, Brother! Till next time, we’ll all, see you in the wind…”

It has, been a good, long run. Well done, Oliver!


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State Senator Steve Glazer: Pragmatic problem Solver ? (NOT)

He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.                                                                                                                                       ~ George Orwell, 1984

If there were any suspicions California Senator Steve Glazer was actually the same tired, liberal, left-wing, progressive Democrat we’ve been dealing with in the East Bay for decades, despite all of his attempts to present himself as a ‘moderate’ in the last election , all of those doubts have been thoroughly removed and yes, now we can confirm Steve Glazer is more of the same thing: a liberal sheep in lion’s clothes.

This past spring Senator Glazer presented himself as a different kind of Democrat—a Democrat who would stand up for fiscal responsibility and fight for government reform—one that would challenge useless regulations and be business-friendly. Why, Steve Glazer was going to stand up to the teachers’ unions,  and even stand up to BART’s union! Steve Glazer was going to bring common sense back to Sacramento.

So what was the first thing Senator Glazer voted for, on the same day he was sworn into office? Senate Bill 600: A bill to protect illegal immigrants from being discriminated against based on their status as illegal, their non-citizenship and not being able to speak the English language. I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the same old California Democrat to me.

How about this? According to his Senate campaign material “Steve Glazer is a Democrat who is a ‘pragmatic problem-solver.” Problem-solver… or problem creator?  The Sheriff of Mendocino County, Thomas Allman, said this about Glazer: “Are there people in Sacramento who have nothing better to do than to pretend there is a problem here and try to fix this problem that isn’t really a problem?”

The Sheriff was speaking about the attempt by Senator Glazer to rename the city of Fort Bragg, California. Why did Fort Bragg need to be renamed? Because when it was founded back in the 1850s–prior to the Civil War–it was named after the Mexican-American war hero, Captain Braxton Bragg. Years after the fort was christened with Bragg’s name, Braxton Bragg joined the Confederate Army, received a commission as a general, and fought for the nascent Confederacy. So Senator Glazer decided the entire city’s name had to be changed. Fortunately saner heads prevailed.

Instead of someone who is serious about tackling the actual problems the State of California is currently dealing with—from sanctuary cities that allow multiple convicted felons to keep illegally invading our state while raping and murdering citizens with impunity, to our burgeoning water crisis—the Senator from Orinda is fixated on an issue that barely concerned California 150 years ago and has even less bearing on the state today.

The over-riding concern for this self-appointed nemesis of anything to do with everything and everyone south of the Mason-Dixie line is to make all public references to anything remotely connected to the historic Confederacy a state crime.

And since another Democrat beat Glazer to the punch by banning the Confederate battle flag last fall, Glazer has discovered another way of posturing by going after prominent elected and military names associated with the Confederacy, no matter how obscure. When you’re tapping into emotion, no political stunt can be too cheap.

Instead of an effective and serious leader we get another busybody scold who is not content with the culture, legacy and history of California—or even the United States—but is already earnestly working as a loyal member of The Ministry of Truth to consign our shared recorded history down into “The Memory Hole.”

Glazer has wholly and enthusiastically merged with the current Groupthink which seeks to annihilate any public trace of the short-lived Confederate States of America from the collective memory of all currently living citizens.

Indeed, Senator Steve Glazer has frequently expressed, with numerous vilifying pronouncements and declarations, his contempt for General Robert Edward Lee specifically; writing of Lee’s honorable service to his fellow Southerners as a “treacherous attempt at defeating the United States.” And the schools named after Lee and his fellow generals? “Monuments to traitors.”

Anyone who knows the first thing about military history knows there are few armies which ever took to the field of battle better than the Confederate Army. Proponents of the “Lost Cause” and the “Righteous Cause” both agree on this self-evident fact.

Yet the Confederate Army was never an Army assembled to invade and conquer the United States. Although it could have easily done that very thing after the first Battle of Bull Run/Manassas, as Washington D.C. was ripe for conquest at the time. The only “defeat” Lee sought was the defeat of the United States against his homeland.

Yet now we are being ordered, on penalty of fine and/or imprisonment by our illustrious junior Senator, to neglect this pertinent historical truth from the body politic so he and his fellow Democrats can reinforce a historical myth.

Students of history who have examined and sought to appreciate the elusive essence of human valor know there were few American military men more courageous than Robert E. Lee. How easy it would have been for the man to simply remain with the United States and fight for it, to receive laurels and praise and higher accolades and recognition. But Lee was, unlike politicians, never about the easy way. All Robert E. Lee had to do was make war against his fellow Southerners. Something Senator Steve Glazer would have applauded. Drawing your sword against your people, your family and friends might indeed be admirable to a Democrat as they have certainly engaged in a Culture War—against everything from prenatal life to marriage—within their own country. To a man like Robert Edward Lee, however, such a position would have been unthinkable.

Slavery was not among the ideals which Lee espoused and he freed slaves (which he inherited) voluntarily. When the Confederacy seceded from the United States, chattel slavery was still legal in Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri and Delaware. The flag of the United States had flown over the entire country for more than “four score” (eighty years) already, during which time slavery remained legal.
Of course historical facts are irrelevant when you are gripped in a false moral panic.

General Robert E. Lee’s strategic genius was acclaimed throughout the world, gaining him the admiration of his own men and the respect of his enemies. He was a secessionist, yet an honorable one, and he bore defeat with greater dignity than most of his foes bore victory.

If General Lee, President Jefferson Davis, or any other civilian or military leader of the Confederacy was a “traitor” why were none ever tried for treason? When the war ended the Southern states were put under military authority, their civil governments dissolved, and each state had to be re-admitted to the Union. Now, unless my logic is wrong, you cannot be “re-admitted” to something unless you have been out of it. And if you were out of it, legally and constitutionally, as the Southern states maintained, then you cannot be in any way guilty of “treason.”

If you bring these leaders to trial, it will condemn the North, for by the Constitution, secession is not a rebellion. His (Jefferson Davis) capture was a mistake. His trial will be a greater one. We cannot convict him of treason. ~ Supreme Court Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase

Nonetheless, to the demagogues out there who share the same warped view of our ancestors as Senator Steve Glazer, this is all irrelevant. Damnatio memoriae is the Latin phrase literally meaning “condemnation of memory” in the sense of a judgment that a person must not be remembered. It was a form of dishonor that could be passed by the Roman Senate upon actual and real traitors or others who brought discredit to the Roman State. The intent was to erase someone from history.

This is what Steve Glazer is obsessed with as a California senator; erasing the valor, the distinction and the honorable legacy of truly great men who fought for their homes, their families, and their good names, as well as retroactively impugning these men based on his highly dubious judgment alone.
Has there been a groundswell from the people in his district, let alone the citizens of California, for this action? Of course not. But Senator Glazer is nonetheless relentless in condemning Robert Edward Lee to the status of damnatio memoriae – or what George Orwell described in 1984 (which was intended as a warning, not an instructional manual, Senator) as “the vaporization of unpersons.”

This is about raw, naked power, nothing less. Local cities and school districts are not allowed to decide what’s best for them any longer. Obscure road markers have to be ripped out. The “different” kind of Democrat actually says, “I believe deeply in local control.” (As long as localities have “elementary schools, plaques along an old highway route and local street signs” that Senator Glazer approves of.)
Must all symbols of America’s variegated history now be approved by the Steve Glazer’s we have in our midst? If this is true–and it is–we are never safe from the hands of those who may choose to despise any symbol at a given time, because, even as the official analysis of his bill concedes, the goalposts will constantly be moving.

Roger Scruton once observed that the reason Cultural Marxism holds such enormous appeal for our ruling elites is not because it is philosophically true, but because it confers on them the power to manipulate others and reconfigure the social order. This, and nothing less than this, is the driving force behind Senator Glazer’s proposal to sandblast inconvenient history.

What of the loyal opposition here in California? You can always count on the craven Republicans to go along with any pernicious decisions the Democrats—even the “different” kinds of Democrats, like Steve Glazer—make; and sure enough, right on cue, in a typically spineless motion to assure everyone he does not even have the appearance of being ‘racist’ Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff is scrambling to appease the Democrats.

To his credit, Senator Huff doesn’t label men like General Lee “traitor,” he at least accurately characterizes them as “secessionists,” yet he freely adopts the Cultural Marxist argument: If a symbol that represents something good, benign or even vile is offensive to a vocal minority that insist on being offended, then that symbol must be consigned down The Memory Hole, whether that symbol be the Cross, a sports mascot or the Confederate Battle Flag. Senator Huff states, “. . . but there’s no doubt now that you have the Confederate flag and other images that have been adopted by hate and extremist groups and you can’t deny that now…”

No one can deny a homicidal lunatic adopted the Confederate flag. What happens when a homicidal lunatic adopts the Gonzales flag? Pine Tree flag? Gadsden flag? The Biderman Flag? The POW/MIA flag? The Bear flag? And what happens when all of those symbols are banned, just as the Confederate Battle Flag is already publicly banned? What next? Do you follow Steve Glazer’s lead and start banning schools, road markers and street names as well? When does the politically correct bending over backwards end?

Have “hate and extremist groups” also elevated Robert E. Lee, Braxton Bragg and other Confederate leaders to exalted positions within their bigoted creeds? Perhaps. Does that justify mealy-mouthed caving-in to the Cultural Marxist agenda? What if “hate and extremist groups” decide to elevate John Fremont’s name? Do we ban him as well? John Muir? Jack London? Will you ever draw a line, Senator Huff?

I’m old enough to remember when Republicans praised Robert E. Lee. President Gerald Ford hailed Robert E. Lee as a “character (who) has been an example to succeeding generations.”President Ronald Reagan called Robert E. Lee “An American Legend.”

Boyd Cathay has written that these attacks on our shared heritage “are only the opening salvo in this renewed cleansing effort, and those who collaborate with them, good intentions or not, collaborate with the destruction of our historic civilization. For that they deserve our scorn and our most vigorous and steadfast opposition.”

Finally, the men whom Senator Steve Glazer and his willing ally Senator Bob Huff seek to impugn are considered by United States law to be American veterans. Senator Glazer should look up U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410.

Under the current U.S. Federal Code, Confederate Veterans are equivalent to Union Veterans. I respect American veterans from all wars, from the American War of Independence to the War in Afghanistan. I respect their sacrifices, I respect their valor and I respect their service. My fellow Californians used to as well, by the physical evidence of the very symbols Senator Glazer seeks to tear down. In addition to organizations such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans, now veteran’s groups such as the American Legion may also be interested in Senator Glazer’s attempt to besmirch the name of men like General Robert E. Lee.

For those of you who held out hope that Steve Glazer was going to be a different kind of Democrat, I am afraid you–we–were all misled.
The consolidation of the states into one vast republic, sure to be aggressive abroad and despotic at home, will be the certain precursor of that ruin which has overwhelmed all those that have preceded it.                                                                                                                                          ~ General Robert E. Lee

Teen Esteem: Reaching Them When They Need it Most

As teenagers emerge from childhood, they seek independence from the rules and expectations of others. They navigate treacherous waters toward adulthood as they form their own independent identity. While the possibilities of what lie ahead are limitless, the journey can be fraught with difficulties.

In recent years the intense academic and social pressures (often exacerbated by social media) on our youth frequently lead them to experience high levels of stress, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, and even to the act itself—suicide. In fact, suicide is now the third leading cause of death for children aged ten to fourteen; and one in twenty kids aged nine to seventeen are diagnosed with major depression.

Prescription drug abuse, binge drinking, recreational drugs, bullying (including cyber-bullying), pornography, sexting, and the consequences of sexual activity are also potential pitfalls for teenagers that can derail them from achieving their goals and dreams.

Teen Esteem’s goal is to reach out to them during this vulnerable time and provide valuable information helping them navigate these turbulent years.teen esteem

Teen Esteem was founded in 1994 out of the concern that many young people were falling into the lure of risky adolescent behavior, sometimes leading them down a path that would have negative life-long consequences. A curriculum was developed addressing the importance of making healthy, informed decisions while providing accurate, up-to-date statistics and information. Since 1994, we’ve reached over 150,000 students with our message. Teen Esteem has also reached over 10,000 parents through parent education events. Executive Director Linda Turnbull states that “through our volunteer speakers and ongoing interactions with school administrators, counselors, law enforcement, doctors and parents, Teen Esteem maintains an accurate pulse on the current youth culture, trends, and the types of pressures young people face.” They are making an impact in students’ lives.1

Their goal is to equip, educate, and empower teens, parents, educators, and the community on issues related to teens and adolescent health, while addressing the importance of self-respect and respect for others. Teen Esteem equips youth to make courageous, well-informed choices based on respect for self and others. Trained volunteer speakers from Teen Esteem provide classroom presentations, assemblies, and community workshops for this vulnerable population of middle school and high school students.

In addition to their presentations for youth, they host parent education events: informational coffees, parent ed nights, and brown bag Lunch-n-Learns in the workplace. They have presented their Lunch-n-Learns at Bishop Ranch, Chevron, Workday, and other local companies on topics ranging from “What Kids Wish Their Parents Knew,” to “Hands on Help for Today’s Digital Family.” Many of these educational talks as well as handouts are available on their website:

Teen Esteem’s impact in our community is noteworthy. Teachers acknowledge the valuable voice they bring to the classroom: “Teen Esteem speaks from the heart about issues important to young people. Their talented speakers challenge my students to look closely at their values and how they make choices. This gives them the tools to build healthy and meaningful long-term relationships. I am fortunate to have Teen Esteem encourage my students with a positive message about making good choices.”

2A day after one of their presentations, a tenth grade student reflected: “This presentation was life changing for me because I would have committed suicide. And if I wasn’t inspired, I wouldn’t be here.” Another student commented, “Since prom is coming up, I was considering drinking for the first time and going to an after-party. But your presentation truly helped me to step back and realize what this decision was — I really don’t care to drink but it would have been out of pressure/curiosity… thank you!”

Parents echo their gratitude for Teen Esteem’s influence on their children’s lives, such as this: “Teen Esteem encourages our kids to make right choices in their lives as it relates to drugs, alcohol and relationships,” and “After your presentation I could tell my son had spent some time reflecting on what was presented. When a teenager comes and enthusiastically discusses what he learned about drugs, alcohol and relationships, it’s a huge win! You have put together a great formula. You should be really proud of what your team is achieving. You tackle very difficult topics with a very vulnerable audience and you’re doing it very effectively.”2

With support from the local community, Teen Esteem hopes to continue their work in the Tri-Valley schools as well expand their influence over time to the Greater Bay Area.

Their annual Gala and Fundraiser, will be held this year on Saturday, November 7, 2015, at the Diablo Country Club, where they hope to introduce their work to many new folks, showcase their successes, as well as to invite everyone to participate with them in their endeavor to make a difference in the lives of young people in our communities. Find more information about the Gala or about Teen Esteem at

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