Sunday, June 29, 2008

How to Handle a Thief

I live in a bad neighborhood.

Okay, maybe that is not quite true. I live in Sacramento's Northern Ghetto... East Del Paso Heights. (South Sacramento is the Hood - where the gangs reside... we live in the Ghetto - its just full of poor people).

I bought my house here in 2004, a couple years before the Real Estate Peak in Sacramento and across the state. When I decided it was time to purchase a house I took many factors into consideration... location and price were keen among these.

Price-wise I did not want to exceed $200K because I did not want to have an unmanageable mortgage. My broker told me I could qualify for a house twice that price... but those who said yes to that tempting offer are now suffering the foreclosure syndrome.

I stuck with my figure and decided that North Sacramento, East Del Paso Heights would be my best bet. The other options was Oak Park. A more adanvced and developed neighborhood, but still a part of the Hood.

I chose a street North Sac with mainly homeowners, some who had been there for 30+ years, and a home that was recently renovated, and not yet on the market.

Overall the neighborhood has been great. Good people, occassional disturbances, but a far cry from my former residence in the beautiful and affluent East Sacramento, where I was a renter.

One of the most notable differences... in the ghetto, everyone hangs out in their front yards... in more affluent communities, we tend to hang out in our back yards. I guess here most back yards are filled with cars, junk or other stuff!

Anyway... back to the reason for this post... on Friday, June 27, my house was burgled. A couple kids broke in and stole my laptop and some other valuables.

Now, I happened to get lucky in that my neighbor (a couple Hispanics who rent) saw two kids walking through our back alley (all houses out here build in the 40s have alleys) carrying a laptop case. They followed the kids and saw them head into a house nearby.

But I am getting ahead of my story...

I had rushed out of the house earlier in the day to consult on the development of the 42nd Annual World Chili Cookoff and Music Festival in Sacramento. When I got home about 5:30 or so, I walked into the house and found the back sliding glass door ajar. It seemed strange to me... my first thought was "I can't believe I left that open... my AC bill is going to be HUGE!" Then I considered it further and realized that I did not, in fact, go outside that morning so it should not be open. I closed the door... walked cautiously into the living room... looking around with a odd combination of bemusement and dread. Then I saw it. My old Treo 600 and charger cord laying on the living room floor.

"How in the hell did that get there?" Then it struck me... my cool US Luggage ballistic nylon laptop back was gone. My old Compaq laptop was gone. And the cash I had stashed away was gone. Nothing else. The Golf clubs, the DVDs, the other computers... nothing else was gone.

I immediately went out the back door and hopped over the fence into the overgrown alley but saw no-one. I then ran back, got my keys and decided to drive around. Nothing.

When I came back home, my girlfriend had arrived from work, and I noticed my hispanic neighbors hanging out... in the front yard, of course. So I asked them...

Yes! They had seen the guys walking down the alley. Not only that... the previous day two other houses were burgled. Two laptops and a bike were gone.

But my clever neighbors had followed the suspects and saw what house they went into. Perfect!

I got a couple other neighbors together who had been robbed, confirmed the story and said "Lets go to the house!"

Uh... no. I couldn't believe no one else wanted to go!?!?! They had been robbed. Someone had come in their house and violated their privacy and stole their property! I was irate. I wanted to confront the robbers. Why didn't they.

I called 911 instead and reported that I was about to confront the house where the thieves were. The operator took a report, said the Cops would come and take a report. 10 minutes passed. I couldn't wait any more. I asked one of the others to get in the car, drove over to the house, parked so he could see the front door. Walked over and knocked. "Hello?" the heavy set woman said as she answered the door... "do you have a set of jumper cables?" I asked while scanning the living room... she politely checked and came back with a no. "But the neighbors next door are nice and they should have some." I got nothing but good vibes from the lady, so I thanked her and then headed to my car, faked talking with someone else, then got in the car and drove home.

Still no cops.

After about 20 more minutes, I drove back to her house by myself... knocked on the door and, when she answered, I immediately apologized for lying to her.

Then I apologized for my next comment: "I have reason to believe that two men who robbed our neighborhood today and yesterday came into this house." She wasn't even shocked. I described the men. She said her son wasn't home yet but they should be back soon. I gave her my number, took hers and told her I wanted to help her and handle this without authorities.

I returned home.

Still no cops.

I decided to go about my business and see to my house. Making sure that this would not happen again.

After an hour or so, I went back to the house. This time the mom was gone, but her daughters were home. The mom was driving around trying to find her son. Apparently, according to the daughter, her mom had already called the kid's probation officer. "Probation officer? What was he in for?" "Armed robbery." "How old is he?" "14, almost 15."

Fourteen years old?!?!? How incredibly sad is that?!?!?! A fourteen year old felon broke into my home, stole my laptop and some valuables. I talked with the mom over the daughter's phone, got her cell number and returned home.

By now, over two hours had passed and still no cops. So I called the non-emergency number and was told they will send someone over when they are not dealing with other calls. I got a little irate, considering it had been two hours, asked her when I could expect them... after a bit of a run-around from her... I started really getting heated "this is ridiculous! If I lived in a nice neighborhood, they would have been here in minutes!" "No, sir" she said, "we are the same department and follow the same rules. Have you lived in another neighborhood?" I told her I had - having lived in East Sacramento for several years prior to buying in North Sac - and we definitely got MUCH faster response... while I was telling her this SHE HUNG UP!!!

Now, I could have called back immediately... but I wanted to cool down first. So an hour passed. No cops.

I called back, spoke with another lady and explained what I told the others... I know where the perpetrators live, I've been to their house twice, we are waiting for help... "you know where they live?" she asked. "Yes!" "Oh, well that is a different kind of call, they should not have put you down as a report." And she changed the call status. Within 20 minutes the Sacramento PD showed up at the door. I explained what happened, they took their notes, talked with the neighbors, gave me a report number and went over to the house to talk with the mom. They also warned me that CSI would come out to dust for prints and they would call me first.

They did. At 2:30 am. But that's okay... I was happy to wake up, let the lady in and facilitate the dusting.

We will see what happens next. Hopefully I hear something on monday.

I am not worried about the cash, that is probably lost forever... I am worried about the laptop. So many files from recent events... designs, etc.

I'm ranted out.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Northern California Blues Festival... another great community event!

Well my friends...

It is over... the 9th Annual Northern California Blues Festival is in the can. And if you missed it, I am sorry... it was an event that shall never be the same again.

The biggest risk we took this year was turning a one day event into two days. And if you are not familiar with event planning... two days means a whole new host of variables that need to be tackled. Questions like... if you build it WILL they come? Because you are not only creating a longer event, you need you attendees to pay more for more days. Will they? Well... the question was undeniably answered for us... they DID!

While Saturday's attendance during the day was less than last year due to the 105 degree weather, the attendance by Saturday evening to watch Elvin Bishop was easily at 2500+.

Sunday's attendance for Maria Muldaur and the rest of the first ever Sunday Line-up was incredible at 1500.

But there was more than just the attendance. This year we had 35 craft vendors, 9 food vendors, two beer stations, and for the first time ever... Margaritas from Tequila 374.

And then there were the cars... incredible hotrods brought together by the Capital City Cruisers... six trophies were handed out to the winners including the Best of Show (confession here... I don't have the name of the winner but I get it for you).

The line-up of music for Tuesday was truly special... from Equinox to Elvin Bishop, from the Delta Wires to Steve Foster, from Lee Bootz to Mighty Mike Schermer (he's shorter than I thought)... it was a one day line-up any festival would be proud of.

If you want to purchase EXCLUSIVE live MP3's of the festival you can get them at

Sunday started out with a wonderful pancake breakfast sponsored by the Orangevale Grange. Very tasty! The proceeds from the breakfast benefitted their scholarship fund and they are excited about doing it again next year!

Then the Sunday line-up went along with great aplomb... Jeff Watson, Strictly for Kicks, Sacramento Blues Review, Mick Martin and his new Blues Rockers and the ever so talented Maria Muldaur.

Reminder --- EXCLUSIVE live MP3's of the festival @


Maria was very gracious and sat around for at least 30 minutes signing autographs. Then the crews came in and we had the complete park back to its pre-festival beauty by 11pm that night.

If you would like to be on our email list for the upcoming festivals that I am doing under the banner of CreativeCATS presents, please go to and enter you email in the box on the left. We use Constant Contact so you can be assured of no spam.

Keep it real my friend and we will see ya at the next event.

By the way... a blatant plug here... we plan all our events using QuickPlanner Plus which you can get for only $34.95 at it is truly the best planning software for creating quick administrative plans. I should know... I designed it! ;-)

Matson "Matsonian" Breakey


SUDS ON THE GREEN - Sacramento
Like Golf? Love Beer? Don't Play... Just Drink!
September 13, 2008
William Land Park, Sacramento, CA

An Octoberfest for BrewFest Lovers, by BrewFest Lovers!
September 27, 2008
Fair Oaks Park, Fair Oaks, CA

October 18, 2008
Fremont, CA

October 4-5, 2008
Old Sacramento, CA

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Northern California Blues Festival Fundraiser for Through the Mind

Forming Non-Profit Looks to Blues Festival to Bring Help to Veterans
Through the Mind, a program of the Make A Difference Project Promises to Be a free Alternative for those with PTSD

Sacramento, CA – Recent reports say it all. The war in Iraq is producing one of the worst epidemics of mental disorders among the American military. Suicides are up. Cases of reported PTSD are up. And reports of veterans programs failing to help are up.

Unfortunately for these returning American heroes, the stigma of mental health issues, most notably Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is about as strong as the trouble they are having in their day to day lives, so many do not report it or simply try to deal with it without any direct help from outsiders.

Through the Mind, a forming non-profit program of the Make a Difference project, is passionately approaching this problem by providing free and completely confidential alternative mental health care to returning veterans.

According to Matson Breakey, co-founder of the program, alternative care consists of "any number of options that help the individual to deal with the incident that is at the root of the PTSD. That can be as simple as having a friend to talk to in a non-threatening environment like a coffee shop, or over a good cigar."

Care can range from the simple to the more complex including referral to a professional therapist who is volunteering his or her time to help the veterans.

"It is our intention to offer a number of options that helps the individual become less effected by horrors experienced over there," adds Matson. "This can include meditation, recreational activities, therapeutic exercises, nutrition, and straight forward communication based therapy. And it is all completely confidential."

In fact, other than keeping the clients names and contact information, no other records are kept by the organization. "Any documentation we create is put in a folder and given to the client to keep and bring with next time, if he or she wishes," says Matson.

"The goal is to provide the veteran with a confidential program that matches his/her personal desires, and not just push him into some system that treats every individual the same, no matter background, personal habits or the roots of the incident itself," he adds.

Through the Mind is focusing on PTSD because of its rising appearance among veterans and, according to Matson, "because it is the only mental disorder specifically tied to an incident... to a specific moment when something happened that created a burning engram, a specific trace of that memory, that the individual is now being effected by."

The main barrier to starting any non-profit organization is funding. "It was our intention to be off and running last year," says Matson, "but we did not have the funding. This year, we are hoping that the Northern California Blues Festival will raise enough to effectively launch the program."

Information about the Northern California Blues Festival coming June 21 & 22 to Fair Oaks Park and featuring Elvin Bishop and Maria Muldaur can be found at

Matson "Matsonian" Breakey

June 21 - 22, 2008
Fair Oaks Park, Fair Oaks, CA
916-924-EVENTS (3836)

The Northern California Blues Festival brings together some of the hottest music ever played under the shade of old oak trees in beautiful Fair Oaks Park including music by Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Mighty Mike Schermer, Mick Martin and more great talent. Proceeds benefit Through the Mind, a non-profit providing alternative mental health care to America's returning war veterans.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Re: The Trip


Well, I would be lying if I didn't say how disappointed I am. It is an
incredible thing to plan for a trip of this nature only to have to cancel it
at the 11th hour.

But, it is better to proactively cancel it now, then to have something
happen on the trail itself. Since I have already set aside the month of
July, let me know if you can do something lighter? We can go out for a week
or so. Only hiking a few hours a day?

If not, I understand. It is more important for you to heal your foot so that
we can definitely do it in July 2009!



Matson "Matsonian" Breakey

June 21 - 22, 2008
Fair Oaks Park, Fair Oaks, CA
916-924-EVENTS (3836)

The Northern California Blues Festival brings together some of the hottest music ever played under the shade of old oak trees in beautiful Fair Oaks Park including music by Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Mighty Mike Schermer, Mick Martin and more great talent. Proceeds benefit Through the Mind, a non-profit providing alternative mental health care to America's returning war veterans.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Sacramento County Republican Party... and Me

Okay, a little horn blowing here.
Won what? you ask? I came in second place out of eight candidates for Sacramento County Republican Central Committee, District 1.
Next Question: WHAT is a Central Committee? I know, I know. Most people do not know that their political party has the right to have a central committee in each county. A committee of individuals who are chosen to represent the members of the party to the party central and, therefore to the state party as a whole. I live in California, and while other states may be, and usually are, different, in California, on the Republican side, the system is quite simple. Each county is broken into Supervisorial districts... i.e. I live in Supervisorial District 1, so I ran for the Republican Party as a member of that district.
Republicans in the primary voted for representatives to the party based on their Supervisorial district.
NOTE: Democrats do it slightly different.., I believe it is done by Assembly District.
Here are the results of the election for my race...Sacramento County Republican Central Committee Dist 1
Vote For  4
DIANA PETERS BRACE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     2,099   15.90
MATSON J. BREAKEY.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     2,032   15.40
ERIK R. HARTSTROM.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1,966   14.90
JANET GARDNER .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1,953   14.80
TERRY MAST .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1,763   13.36
RICHARD M. LA FONTAINE .  .  .  .  .  .     1,720   13.03
CRAIG DELUZ.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .     1,640   12.43
WRITE-IN.  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .        25     .19
Not a bad showing! Of course, two of my friends, Terry Mast and Craig DeLuz did not make it, which is generally a matter of position on the ballot or designation.Now, admittedly, this was a VERY low turnout race, and, had it been higher, the results may have definitely been different. When I won the first time in 1996 (I also won in 1998) I had over 10,000 votes.Part of the purpose of running for this
 position, was to help get the Republican Party back on track. See The local party has become a tool for doing nothing more than registering voters and helping with GOTV (getting out the vote) come election time. Which is fine, if you are a currently elected official who does not want to be challenged. But, I believe, the Party is more than that. In California we Republicans are losing to Democrats. Why? Is it because their message is better? Is it because people want a socialistic big government solution in their lives? NO & NO.Why is it?I point to one strategic decision made by the Democratic Party in California in the early 90's.... The decision to make their state party chairmanship a 4 year, paid position, rather than a 2 year voluntary position.That simple act created a stronger, longer visioned party operation that could spend its time promoting party values (or propaganda) and promote candidates that could not only win,
but would continue carrying the torch of the party.The Republicans, on the other hand, have stayed with the 2 year, volunteer chairmanship, leaving the
 party without long term vision, and a sense that every two years, the incoming chairman will change something just to make his mark.The result? A Party that continues to lose its way in our great state.As a member of the Central Committee, my position is only as strong as those who are like-minded. We will have monthly meetings, of which I will post my thoughts here, and we will struggle with the vision many of us share of a party that is once again the party of Lincoln and Reagan, and not the party where a John McCain gets nominated for President.Okay... I've said it. Here is the RANT... we, as Republicans, have had our greatest success when we show our pride in our conservative (social and fiscal) values. Reagan, the Revolution of 2004... these were truly genuine Conservative movements.How can we possibly be proud of a man who does not seem to even like the Republican party? While McCain is a true war hero, he is no conservative. He is a member of
Congress and a Senator who survives in an environment where even your greatest enemy is your closest friend. Where you always smile and always make deals and where principals are left at the door.
And Republicans want this man as President? Why?!?!?
Matson "Matsonian" Breakey
June 21 - 22, 2008
Fair Oaks Park, Fair Oaks, CA
916-924-EVENTS (3836)
The Northern California Blues Festival brings together some of the hottest music ever played under the shade of old oak trees in beautiful Fair Oaks Park including music by Elvin Bishop, Maria Muldaur, Mighty Mike Schermer, Mick Martin and more great talent. Proceeds benefit Through the Mind, a non-profit providing alternative mental health care to America's returning war veterans.

The Trip


As you know I have been having a problem with my right foot. Very sore when
I walk. It is on the ball of my foot. I have been seeing my foot doctor for
4 month and he sent me to therapy and still no luck in fixing the foot
problem. I needed to know how my foot would feel on a hike with my full
pack. Last Friday I picked a trail about 8 miles round trip. My pack weighed
in at 49 lbs. I was able to walk about 11/2 miles before I was forced to
turn back due to pain in my foot.
I saw my doctor yesterday and he feels there is a tear in a ligament on the
bottom of my foot. If this is so then it is a 3-5 month fix. He feels that
if I did any hiking without letting the foot heal would cause more damage
that would never heal.
The bottom line is this. We cannot do the trip this year. I am so sorry
about not doing the trip this year. If all goes well we could do a trip in
September or October. I still want to do the trip but not this year. We have
worked real hard to get ready. With all the research and planning done it
should not be too hard to get ready for next year. We could even make the
trip a little longer.
The Gregory Palisade Backpack was real comfortable. Once I got it adjusted
right it felt great. I highly recommend the pack. I also recommend the use
of trekking poles. Going uphill or down they made it much easier and safer.
Going down hill I adjusted the poles longer for the added support. They were
able to give me two more legs that stabilized the downhill trek. Going
uphill the additional legs gave me the ability to relax my legs. Even
walking on level ground helped me as the poles took some weight off the
legs. You do use different muscles in your arms so a person should walk with
the poles before a long hike. I spent a good month with the poles when I
took my three dogs on their daily hike in the woods.