Stand UP for Democracy

What better place to feel the power of democracy than at the local level. We have 85,000 local governments in the United States that are comprised of democratically-elected officials.  A short Wiki description of the word democracy states:  “a system involving distribution of political power in the hands of the public which forms the electorate, representative government, and freedom of speech.”

Elected officials serve the will of the people in a representative government and this is the heart of a democratic system; one that America staunchly pushes outward to other nations in turmoil. As America flouts democracy proudly for the world to see and emulate on this day, democracy in my own personal sphere and that of thousands of citizens around me at the local level has been pushed aside for the rule of one unelected official, a Super Trustee “With Extraordinary Powers” who forces his will at my college.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors sets policy and provides guidance for the 72 districts and 112 colleges that constitute the system. This Monday, three days after we celebrate American Democracy, the following Board will meet to vote on a resolution that seeks to continue the rule of one at City College of San Francisco. President Manuel Baca, Arnoldo Avalos, Jena Barrera, Geoffrey L. Baum, Natalie Berg, Joseph J. Bielanski Jr., Thomas Epstein, Lance T. Izumi, Danny Hawkins, Deborah Malumed, Henry A. J. Ramos, Gary Reed, Nancy Sumner, and  Colin Van Loon along with State Chancellor, Dr Brice W. Harris will meet on Monday July 7th, 2014 to vote on several items brought before them, one of which concerns a very undemocratic resolution recommended by State Chancellor Dr. Brice Harris: Action Item 2.1    Reappointment of a Special Trustee for San Francisco Community College District.  You can read the resolution here.  The college has already experienced more than a year of the autocratic rule of one unelected official whose “extraordinary powers” denied the college public viewings of official “board” meetings. In non-public meetings, rules and regulations were passed that included a huge salary increase for the top-tier administrators just months after denying faculty by continuing pay cuts at a pre-2007 level salary in what is arguably the most expensive city in America.

The web page of the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office states the following under the heading, The Governance Process:  “Each of the 72 community college districts has a locally-elected board of trustees. These individiuals are responsive to members of their community. Trustees also oversee the operations and budgets of local colleges within their districts.”

So, you can see that although the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously voted on a resolution “Urging State Community College Chancellor Brice Harris to Restore City College of San Francisco’s Duly Elected Board of Trustees” and the citizens of San Francisco demand the return of the democratically-elected Board, a group of appointed Board of Governors has the power to deny democracy on Monday, three days after we celebrate America’s most prized holiday.

 

City College’s Board of Trustees Must Be Restored

Stand Up for Democracy

 

 

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Local Democracy IMMEDIATELY!

City College’s Board of Trustee’s Should Be Restored

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“God Fights The Plague” – a must see…

An enterprising and extremely talented young man named Desi Gallegos (18-years-young) caught my attention last eve at The Marsh in San Francisco, starring in a solo performance of his search for the identity of God through interviews of various characters whom he portrays in this moving and funny piece God Fights The Plague.  He is quite captivating and impressive, beginning his artistic run at age 14 with the award-winning Prop 8 Love Stories which he co-wrote and assistant-directed. Desi reflects an old-soul whose characters definitely live through him as he touches the audience with his adaptation of them.

If you’re anywhere in the Bay Area, I highly recommend seeing this performance during the run through Aug. 10th on Saturdays at 8:30p and Sundays at 7p.

http://themarsh.org/god_fights/dezi-gallegos/

 

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Moving Faster than the Speed of Sound

How it is possible to get it wrong so much more often now?   How many of you are stuck this day/eve with a “I can’t believe they got it wrong again!” regarding your intention on something you’ve just written in a text, an email message, an Instagram, Twitter, FB, or blog post?

We have SO MANY ways to communicate now and in a nanosecond it’s all there for your “feed” group or your one addressee to see/read.  And yes, you can usually take it back and either fully delete or edit (if you put up the thought or media in the first place in a public social media site as opposed to an email sent), but aside from that, how many times are you simply taken out of context?

As for me, it happens often enough that I tend to write a LOT of exposition to be sure the reader “gets my drift” and has no question of my intent.  But I’m finding that rarely solves the problem.  Why?  We’ve become a society of non-readers in all of these extra verbiage and media apps at our disposal.  We don’t want to sit and take the time to read something beyond a 140-character  tweet, so seeing an email post that has 140 words???  People go running for the hills.  Well, that term is dead.  They simply click “next” and off they are into another line of thinking.

Some of you, like me, like to read which is why you’re still here on this page and I thank you for that. The idea I’d like to get across here is that though we have words and audiovisual media at our fingertips every second of the day that we can blast out to the stratosphere at a moment’s notice, remember to stop and take in the messages that others are sending to you.  Read every word, take a sip of your beverage, ponder, then respond.  You’ll be better for it and your writer will be appreciated and understood.

We are a culture that is moving faster than the speed of sound at this point and it will take its toll, believe me, if you don’t slow down now and breathe…

Doppler2

 

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Cochlear Rest

If you sit still long enough and stop the tapping on your keyboard, you can hear a tiny world around you pushing up against your cochlea which sends signals to your brain for identification.  Directly from the Wiki hyperlinked above: “The cochlea receives sound in the form of vibrations, which cause the stereocilia to move. The stereocilia then convert these vibrations into nerve impulses which are taken up to the brain to be interpreted.”

Now think about that for a minute.  What are you doing to your cochlea right now as you read this?  Are you stimulating it with the quiet of whatever sounds are around you in their most quiet form?  Is your ear canal jammed up with little speaker buds blasting some type of music into your ear to negate the loud din of your commute? Or is it absolutely silent where you are?  No sound at all…

If you answered the latter, then you are far away somewhere on a trip all of us should be on.  Silence is something of a spa day for our cochlea and it would be a lovely and restorative trip to help your two cochleas (yes, you have two ears, right?) take a vacay together and travel AWAY from all sound.  Even if your brain is busy buzzing away as mine is most day and night, it gets a rest when your cochlea isn’t trying to send NEW information in for interpretation.  When the mind can just think on its own rather than run the duality of thinking and pondering while also interpreting, you are giving it a much needed break.  For those with children, I hear you laughing now.  “Right, take a break from the noise!” But teach your children this and you’ll be raising little Buddhas rather than little “Ruddhas”.  (Loud people take up a LOT of everyone’s space.)

Won’t you give your cochleas a rest sometime today?

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The Frozen Middle

A young Latino male picks up his food to go and asks for a second helping of the taqueria’s much lauded salsa.  “That will be 50-cents more, sir, ” says the cashier politely.  (The serving is a tablespoon, in a mental note to self. 50 cents?)  The young man shrugs his shoulders and walks out, beaten again.  He had already paid $10.25 for the burrito.  This is the state of the Mission district where I live in San Francisco, where the poor, the middle, and the newly enriched upper middle class reside all together.

You can see it on the faces of those whose pathways you cross every day:

  • early morning worker bees en route to the fancy, unmarked, WiFi-enabled bus that whisks them south to the mothership.
  • others with even larger backpacks hightail it on foot to their jobs on the morning crew to clean kitchens and offices.
  • several run block after block with their specialized smartphone exercise app giving them applause at every new milestone reached…They don’t have to be at work as early as the others.
  • and then there are those like me whose days and nights and weekends all blur into one in an upwards of 90-hours-per-week of work. 

I can honestly say that though I’m not paid nearly enough for the amount of work I clock in, I love my job and that makes it all worth it. Is my health affected?  Possibly.  But I take good care to keep everything in perspective by eating well, drinking a lot of water, stretching several times a day, and trying to get some exercise at least 4 times a week.  

What about those whose livelihoods don’t fulfill on a personal level?  How does that sink the soul in myriad ways?  There is very little room for growth anymore.  It used to be that you’d earn a degree and the world was your oyster. Not so much.  If you earn a degree at an expensive college and your parents aren’t rich, you’re sunk into debt for a good portion of your early-to-mid life – chained to the man, as it were.  

What keeps people living in these urban areas going every day?  Necessity to feed the family, to feel like one is a part of something bigger, to feel like you can be one of those media stars that you see go from rags to riches on the reality shows.  The media fills us with hope that we can grow out of this frozen middle.  The poor lost that hope long ago.  Their future dreams have been shattered multiple times.  Some STILL have possibilities and I see it where I work which is one of my favorite things about teaching in a public, affordable college. People pursue dreams and they can get to the next step, one-by-one.  

The difference between the middle now and the middle 30+ years ago is that now our entire government (all three branches) are bought by the oligarchy which has stretched its octopus-like appendages into the fabric of our every day.  Even local politics have been corrupted by the “families” on the outside who want to swallow the middle whole.  They gorge on the blood and sweat of workers  while enriching their personal fortunes. They buy the politicians to be sure any rights we used to have are removed.  Within 5-years we’ll be bound-and-gagged in a Fritz Lang “Metropolis” with the gulf of class division trapping us.

Is there a way out?   YES!  You have to WAKE UP and become ACTIVE!  And I don’t mean signing a number of the online petitions as you sit and feel like you’ve done something.  Those don’t work.  Politicians don’t READ any of that.  They vote with the $$ laid before them by the vast lobbying efforts of the oligarchs.  WE MUST ACT to change politics.  WE MUST ACT to say “NO” to the lie of “representative government” because it no longer represents the frozen middle.  

Start with keeping up with the people who are working toward real hope and change:

Enrich yourself with knowledge.  Find your way to get out of that seat and DO SOMETHING.  We have to make real change because we’ve been saying that things just aren’t working for us anymore for far too long.

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Life INSIDE Your Technology: “Take Me To Your Leader”

There it goes.  In a moment, simply click “yes” to a new IOS update that beckons to fix those bugs you really didn’t know you had and then, *Poof*.  In an instant, your palm spaceship disintegrates before your very eyes stuck somewhere in a bitten apple, half status bar upload that progresses nowhere.  You look at it a few times, the bar not moving. If you know about these things, you think: “Wow, this must be a large update. This is taking too long.”

After a bit longer, you plug it into the electrical connection even though you know it had been fully juiced-up the half hour before.  It sent a sign:  Connect me to the mothership by way of displaying a cute icon of the adapter side of the cable to an arrow that pointed to the “iTunes” icon. iphone_recovery_mode.  Ahhh, clever that!  It can be understood in a number of languages.  So, I was led to Hal 9000 to make the connection.

The words RESTORE came up on the computer and I had no choice. There goes everything (it warned me), as it took me back to the last update.  Only wait!  The last update was incorrect!  October 2013???  No, I’ve certainly updated since then!  I’m a media technologist! I keep up with my back-ups!  I – I – I…I had no choice but to accept.

Twenty-minutes later, I was thrust back into my life 8 months back with texts and phone messages suddenly appearing as if it was the present. I was a lot less happy then and it was interesting to take a peek from my current place of contentment.  I knew as this entire travesty unfolded that I’m in a better way because I neither howled at nor tossed hands in the air, piffed expletives from my lips, nor pulled at my hair when all of this took place. I simply went through the steps, calmly.  Buddha has somehow entered my being because this would have put me in a Cape Canaveral blast-off a year ago.

So it goes.  I had a time to reflect last night about where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. And I didn’t have to pay a therapist $$ to for that self-discovery.  Courtesy of Apple, I had a “session” last night.   Oh, and I’m missing data on current people in my life whose contact info I have added since October, 2013.

My friend, Blu, posted something on Facebook about my situation:  “First, they make something wonderful. But it’s flawed so you will buy the upgrade. Then it is so much better, you buy the next upgrade. But half of what they fixed in the last one is now worse than it was in the upgrade before the last. So then they promise great improvements with each “upgrade” and sometimes things actually do get better. At this point you are contemplating going back to one of your dust-collecting, closet-filling computers from an earlier era, but can’t because all of your work done in the last couple of years was done on software that is not backwards compatible (and which, of course, doesn’t work on your old trusty computer from a kinder, gentler era). From where I am standing. it just seems like a great marketing plan for a captive audience.”

Indeed, Blu.  We are thrust daily into a “take me to your leader” mode inside of our technology:  our personal palm spaceship.

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