Loose collars, interesting businesses, and a loss for San Francisco art museums

By Michael Raffety

1-16-12

Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul sure does a good job of talking clearly and simply about his issues. His plain speaking has put him in third place in Iowa and now second in New Hampshire.

But, gosh, you think he would get some clothes that fit. His collars are way too loose and his suits look baggy. Obviously, by age 76 he has gotten skinnier, though he was likely slim all his life. He doesn’t even have to get tailored suits; just buy a better size off the rack. Get rid of those old, too-big suits and shirts.

Then there is his 49-year-old son, Rand Paul, senator from Kentucky. He showed up for a Frank Luntz focus group interview in a nice coat and tie but the biggest, baggiest cotton slacks I have ever seen.

Somebody robbed the Pauls and gave the well-fitting clothes to Peter.

• • •

Our photo editor, Krysten Kellum, is sure she is the person on the bicycle I included in the watercolor painting I did of Centro coffee shop and the Belltower area. She identifies herself by the backpack.

This is the third year we have done Secrets of Success. Each year the lead story is featured  in a watercolor painting I do of Placerville.

The core of the writing is done by freelancers Roberta Long, Susan Laird and Charlotte Sanchez-Kosa.

I enjoy reading about longtime businesses in El Dorado County. Each story is unique and interesting. I’ve got a list of longtime businesses I have been working from. If your business has been here a long time and we haven’t featured you in the past three Secrets of Success issues, send me an e-mail at mraffety@mtdemocrat.net and I’ll add you to the list for future editions. Every business has a story. We want to tell yours.

• • •

The California Farm Bureau couldn’t get a “nonpoint sources waiver of water discharge requirements” from the State Water Quality Control Board for U.S. Forest Service lands. The Farm Bureau said state discharge requirements for something as highly regulated as national forest lands was redundant.

The U.S. Forest Service manages 20.8 million acres of land in California, with 75 percent of it in timber.

“For a variety of reasons, the USFS lands in California have not been properly managed for a number of years,” said Elisa Noble, the Farm Bureau’s environment and public lands director. “As a result, we have ever-increasing fuel loads, more catastrophic fires, and resulting erosion and landscape conversion. It’s a vicious cycle that  greatly impairs water quality.”

The Dec. 21 issue of Ag Alert wrote that “Unmanaged tree and brush growth has also restricted a vast quantity of the state’s water supply, which would otherwise be available for use, she stressed.”

That latter statement reminds me of when the American River Conservancy celebrated the acquisition of the Cronan Ranch. Ed Bacchi talked about how the land was cleared in the 19th century by girdling the oaks. Once the oaks were thinned out and removed springs popped up, which provided water for the cattle. Fewer trees sucking up water led to the creation of the springs.

• • •

The last press preview I attended for the Masters of Venice exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco  John E. Buchanan Jr., director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, looked gaunter than before.

He was gaunt. He was suffering from pancreatic cancer and died Dec. 30, I just learned. He was 58. John Buchanan had been director of the Legion of Honor and de Young museums for six years. He did a fantastic job.

“During his six-year tenure, the Legion of Honor and de Young museums became the fourth most visited museums in North America and 16th in the world. Membership also grew by 63 percent to over 120,000 households to become the third largest museum membership in the country,” according to an obituary in the Nashville Tennessean.

Buchanan was a native of Tennessee, where he received a bachelor’s degree in English from Sewanee, the University of the South, and a Master’s in Art History from Vanderbilt University. The emphasis of his study was on the Japanese influence on American Art.

The Legion of Honor has a huge collection of Japanese wood block prints.

Buchanan enhanced the museums’ permanent holdings by adding over 4,700 artworks in all collection areas and oversaw the production of 31 catalogs and scholarly publications, according to the Tennessean obit.

Buchanan, working with museum Board President Diane Wilsey traveled to Europe, hobnobbing with museum directors there and bringing back blockbuster shows to San Francisco. He mounted 100 major shows, but the biggest coups were the Impressionist and Post-Impressionist shows from the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, followed by the Picasso show, the Pissarro show and then the Masters of Venice. For each of the Impressionist shows Buchanan had a fabulous auxiliary show composed from the museums’ own collections.

On his last day of work at the museum he was planning exhibits far into the future, according to the Tennessean.

I credit Buchanan’s leadership for expanding the press list to include the Mountain Democrat. Both myself and Mimi Escabar have had numerous people tell us they have gone to see San Francisco museum art shows we have written about .

John E. Buchanan Jr. will be hard to replace.

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