Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Patriot Rally (there are good people in this world!) and more on the community college thing

The rally was held at San José's Discovery Park. Yes that's the World's Largest Monopoly game board. The light rail station is at the back.

I wish I had photos to share, but I spent a nice fall afternoon with about 200 like-minded patriots who came together to talk about the plight of the San Joaquin Valley farmers who have had their water turned off because two environmental experts said that irrigation was bad for the delta smelt, a pretty worthless little bait fish.

So to keep the delta smelt happy, the water that farmers need for their orchards and fields has been shut off. And for the most part, democrats in Sacramento and Washington have utterly ignored this whole issue.

Small towns in the Central Valley are dying. Some are suffering a near 50 percent unemployment rate. Fourteen percent of the produce we eat in the U.S. comes from the Central Valley. When farmers cannot farm, they cannot employ farmworkers, let alone taken care of their own families.

There was no media coverage in this overwhelming liberal area. I’m not surprised one bit

The Patriot movement isn’t about Republican or Democrat. It’s about upholding what the U.S. constitution says. It’s about less government intrusion. There were conservative independents, Republicans and Libertarians at the rally.

Why the media insists on calling this gathering of people “teabaggers” (and then they snicker at the double meaning like Beavis and Butthead) is beyond me. All these people really are is a gathering of individuals who remember what a great place America can be, and want to restore this nation to prosperous times based on sound economic principles.

My mother joked and said I was too old to go protest, and then reminded me not to resist arrest. Not a cop in sight and some members of the group walked around the park and picked up garbage that had been there before we were! I parked my car at the light rail station and rode the 3 miles into downtown.

Back to the community college thing …

One of the local televisions stations presented a two-part report about how mismanaged the community college district’s funds have been since August 2005. I watched in disbelief as I learned that things were worse than what I knew about! The reporter showed a large table full of documents, all public information and there for the asking, and started weaving his story.

In August 2005 the District had $14 million in the bank. Today, it’s cutting programs left and right, firing employees, cancelling classes. All while the chancellor, who is on leave of absence until the first of the year (and who will retire on June 30), is earning $300K a year, has a travel and expense account, yet still is reimbursed for coffee and Mentos! Yes, she asked for reimbursement for a pack of Mentos! I presume she did receive the money back, too.

I knew she did lots of traveling. When I first started doing some of the PIO job, I was informed as to her availability, for how long she was gone, and at first, where she was. I didn’t know about the Scotland thing in until the news report.

I’m not even going to get into sexuality and race here. Any person of any race or sexual orientation could have done what was done in this case. The community college district paid for a membership to an exclusive club called the Capitol Club, $5K for the chancellor, and I presume her life partner and the two community college presidents. There was a receipt for a $1200 dinner at said Capitol Club.

She promoted her life partner into jobs she was minimally if at all qualified for. I very nearly applied for a job working for this person, but there was a little voice in my head that said “Don’t do it. The great state benefits are not worth what you will go through. No one else can work with this woman. You get along with her now but every day … maybe not.”

As it is, that department is probably no more and I’d be unemployed again.

I think what bugs me most is how flawed my thinking was when I accepted the contract job. I could have charged up to $150 an hour for my services. Seriously, that was the going rate. But I felt that any dime not spent on me would be spent on students. Boy was I wrong! Any dime not spent on me was spent on travel!

I think of two marketing pieces I wrote trying to persuade employees to sign up to make automatic payroll deductions to the SJECCD Foundation “for students.” I went looking for heartwarming student stories, convinced people to give money so those students could get an education and give back to the community. What I was really doing was unwittingly stealing from those good people. I had no idea that their donated money would be used for recruitment trips to Thailand (where they didn’t recruit one single student!) and a trip to Scotland to see a K-12 program (That’s not higher education, why do college administrators need to study K-12? Anyone?).

If I were still working there, I'd have written those pieces about two weeks ago.

Watch the reports for yourself. Tell me you aren’t angry about it, even if you don’t live in the Bay Area.

Chancellor's lavish spending questioned

Chancellor's lavish spending went beyond travel

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