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Mining Those Elusive Nuggets Of Truth


Interesting 24 hours here in the 24/680 as our small squad attempts to nail down stories coming in through our digital transom like Rubles in an oligarch’s money counter.

First – and we know some of you dislike our little trips down memory lane but, well, too bad – a transom when not applied in the nautical sense is a bearing window over a door. Back in the day, when we were youngsters, you could open them and Midnight Callers would use the portal to slip manila envelopes containing “Dirty Laundry” through the space and into the Press Room, where we’d find them the next morning. The packets contained everything from photos of politicians knotting their ties after some illicit dalliance to the address of an after-hours gambling club.

Now, feet squarely planted back in the 21st Century, our “transom” is digital but no less full as police, politicians, cab drivers, and raging mothers push all manner of things “Through our Transom” – tips, photos, questions, observations – leaving us to leaf through and separate the wheat from the chaff.

Quite a lot of it is mundane, fodder for the neighborhood message boards where irate locals post pictures of pet feces in hope of finding the pooper desecrating their lawn. We’re sure that’s disconcerting but we’re not really interested in tracking down Muffy or Rex so those folks are on their own. But other tips are interesting, tantalizing, sometimes scary and could be considered of interest to the general public so we nose around.

It’s getting harder as official sources who used to supply basic information back in the day of transoms dry up, and we have to work much harder to mine those nuggets of truth.

Reports of a significant car crash and police presence near The Dead Fish in Hercules proved true as photographer Craig Cannon legged it out there late Thursday to find an active search underway after a pursuit drawing officers from as far away as Richmond ended in tangled metal near the restaurant. Two choppers and dog teams searched the area below the restaurant but were unable to find a fleet-footed suspect. Craig said police went so far as to stop trains passing through the area as they combed the brushy hillsides.

Earlier Thursday, we were informed of a frightening scene in Concord as tipsters reported two adults down and apparently incapacitated in their car at 2:19 a.m. in the 1900 block of Market Street. Now, in this age of Fentanyl abuse and sudden death associated with use of that drug that was pretty frightening on its own but the ante was upped by reports that an infant child – believed to belong to the incapacitated couple – was toddling around the car.

We’ve been able to confirm that a Con Fire crew and police did arrive on the scene and that the adult pair were transported to a local hospital under the auspices of police – so the adults apparently survived their exposure (we’ve since heard Narcan had to be used) but there was no word on what happened to the child. And, yeah, that bothered us.

Along with these tips we also received notes lamenting the conduct of some adults attending the CIF NorCal Division I playoff game between Miramonte and Clovis North Tuesday night – tipsters naming names and questioning the behavior of people who, ostensibly, should have known better.

“Disgraceful,” “Embarrassing,” “Shocking to see the kids exhibit more class than their parents,” were just some of the notations we received. We weren’t at the game but it sounded like a barn-burner, with Clovis North eking out the win and surrendering a few of their adult followers to the referee’s whistle after they, too, got “too involved.”

And here we’d interject something like: “C’mon, people, it’s a game. The kids are meant to have fun…” but it seems we’re waaaay beyond that now, with adults scrapping for the home team the way they fight for a parking space at Theater Square.

We’ll talk about local road rage and the not-so-gentle car-to-car exchange of bottles, golf balls, steel balls, chemical agents and more as folks fight for the right to pollute at a later date.

And, lest you think we’re picking on parents unfairly, some local kids haven’t exactly been angelic in their behavior of late.

We’re not sure if it’s part of this “Assassins” game sweeping the schools, the one sending kids armed with Nerf, BB, and Airsoft guns out into the neighborhoods to stalk other kids and now, apparently, innocent civilians with their arms full of groceries or younger kids in the car.

We’ve warned folks about this, about some close calls with police as furtive high school “Assassins” head-bob around area landmarks with often realistic-looking weaponry making older folk and officers jumpy. See, because toting a virtually indistinguishable Airsoft AK-47 near a schoolyard or in a neighborhood is prompting phone calls – and you don’t have to read very far into the pages of this site to understand why.

Tempers are rising. Charges are forthcoming. Some of the “Assassins” have been identified. And people are generally expressing their displeasure at being used for target practice. So you may not want to do it or let your kid do it or, if you do, don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Let’s see… phone scams, we get a lot of mail but we’ve written about them. Oh, shifting to the use of real guns, we picked up some chatter about a high-stakes robbery on La Casa Via in Walnut Creek Thursday, with a crew of thieves getting the drop on a victim carrying a large amount of expensive jewelry, brandishing those real guns and absconding with said jewelry before escaping in a mini-van.

No one hurt that we know of, but we’re hearing those baubles were high dollar items and someone is going to feel that pain.

That’ll do it for this turn at the sluice box, looking for those nuggets as they come in through our transom(s). But with the way things are going it’s virtually a lead-pipe cinch we’ll be back with another one real soon.


  1. One commenter here claims that the police are no more tight-lipped than they’ve always been, and blames the lack of information available to the public on the diminishing number of local news outlets and reporters. Yet, you write, “It’s getting harder as official sources who used to supply basic information back in the day of transoms dry up, and we have to work much harder to mine those nuggets of truth.” You have written as much in the past as well.

    Could you share some examples of this to educate those who believe the police are still interested in having a well-informed citizenry?

    • G’morning, IO – happily.

      There’s some history behind this so bear with us. In short, the press has generally been considered an unknowing pest by police, who have taken specific measures over time not to have to deal with reporters. This has ranged from restricting press access to records to specifically targeting reporters during protests and at crime scenes (“Move back…” “But we’re behind your cordon…” Move back…” “Where? We can’t move back any further…” “Out of the area, I’d like you out of the area…”

      While we are sure police blame the lack of information on the “diminishing number of local news outlets and reporters” and while we agree this is generally so, OTHER local news outlets and reporters have picked up the flags of fallen newspapers and moved forward. While we can no longer afford to have a beat reporter assigned to the local precinct house or headquarters we are using force multipliers (much as the police are doing with their available resources) in order to cover the large number of police agencies within our area of coverage, reaching out to established PIOs and ranking officers.

      And while SOME agencies still supply a list of police reports they are generally heavily redacted and of NO USE to the press. THIS is the primary reason we stopped making the rounds of various agencies/precinct houses. As a peer from or familiar with one of the local newspapers wrote in one of our threads recently, reports at first contained basic information of use to public and the press. But gradually even these VERY basic reports dried up until you see the lists our colleague wrote about – meaningless to most people, of bare use to the press, and regarded (In our opinion) by police as a way to satisfy their promise of “transparency.”

      The best we can hope for these days is a returned phone call. They are few and far between. Again in our opinion we believe this is due to the police/civic agency’s desire to CONTROL THE NARRATIVE, using basic information favorable to their ends on their own information channels. As we’ve said before, many people are PERFECTLY HAPPY getting their “news” in this manner. But we do not believe it is a fair and accurate representation of what is happening in our area and this has been borne out time and time again as stories we’ve reported on receive scant or no mention at all in “official” channels and are only grudgingly mentioned days or even weeks after they have occurred.

      Again, in this era of unfortunately accepted Fake News accusations by would-be despots afraid of the press, we know not everyone likes or trusts the media. Most can’t explain why beyond the fact that others have told them not to (we’ve asked). But we don’t like what is happening and stand by our assertion that information which should be available to the public is being withheld. If people are okay with that, so be it. WE WOULDN’T BE if we were in their place.

      Sorry about the length of this post. We said there was history. All best…

  2. Thanks for your explanation and reporting. In my house we’ve been noticing more and more that many times there is only one initial story on certain local events and then when we look for follow up stories on TV, online or in print there are none. Meanwhile national news gets repeated ad naseum.

  3. I’m becoming very disappointed in society now. Courtesy in good social behavior seem to be disintegrating in the last few years.
    I guess we could blame it on covid. I don’t know. I think people need to get back a faith their creator and savior. Not things self-centered, or the trendy things of the day.
    It’s odd, as most Americans seem to be unhappy with their lot in life yet you see the poor Ukrainians suffering greatly.
    We’re damn lucky. The greenies are convinced that the world will end in 12 years if we don’t all get electric cars… or better yet walk. And the woke people are convinced that no one has any rights in this country, and it were all full of resentment and hate.
    Maybe those that feel this way to move themselves to Ukraine.
    I don’t know. Sorry I’m kind of rambling it’s just a very disappointed in the state of American society right now.

    • If you’re feeling disappointed and finding fault with “greenies” or “wokies” right now then I would suggest you’re looking at the wrong end of the spectrum!!! I guess you could call me a greenie – and I feel fine!

  4. Many thanks for that conciliatory rambling about how it’s our fault, the Woke. American racism and global warming are, of course, just fake news. Unobservable in nature.

  5. Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes. “The Dead Fish?” Where is the poetry? The imagination? The Filandering Flounder…The Lost Sole?

    • Too easy, like shooting Bass in a Barrel. Plus, we’re giving local businesses a break until they can get back on their feet after the, you know, two-year recess.

    • Let’s see… “Radioactive” Sand… A Dewat WWII fragmentation grenade… One of the Zodiac cards… and the usual threats and unflattering commentary… along with a good story now and then.

  6. If you doubt where police sentiment lies these day and wonder where we’re headed just listen to this officer’s farewell salute to his “boys.” This just happened today and he doesn’t disguise his distaste for the president, the government, and the media. Kind of makes you wonder how many others feel the same way. https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article259105858.html

    Putin may be losing in Ukraine, but he (almost) pulled off a sizable coup in America.

  7. I’ve got news for you — your readers are not going to rise up and come to your rescue. They want what you’re giving them for free and that’s all.

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