Friday, July 22, 2011

Richmond shows up in force to welcome Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

The welcome wagon lady never had it so good.  Richmond turned out in droves Thursday evening, July 21, 2011,  to hear speaker after speaker testify about how great Richmond would be as a location for a new Lawrence National Laboratory.  The gala rally was held in the Richmond Civic Memorial Auditorium.  They had a big crowd of about 300, including people in the upper balconies and standing around in the back of the room.  Richmonders had hung banners for local businesses and non-profits from the balcony railings.  LBNL has not officially announced the location of its newest laboratory yet. The local people decided to forego the soft-sell and be a little more assertive about their marketing tactics, so there would be no doubt in the mind of the LBNL representatives about whether or not they were wanted in Richmond.  Congressman Miller had sent out a message on Facebook about a week ago, asking his Facebook friends to go to this welcoming event for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.  However, he was unable to go to the meeting himself because he is stuck in Washington, DC, as they work out the budget problems and try to come to an agreement on what to do to keep the US solvent.   Miller sent a video of a short speech  which was shown on the big screen to the audience.  Not quite the same as having him there in person, but still pretty good.

Because of a medical appointment, I went to the meeting late.  I came in while Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsey was showing a slide show about Richmond.  I do not know all the folks in these photos, so I will just mention the people I know.  Sorry if  missed you or your relative's names.

Three Bruces.  Bruce  Beyaert representing Trails of 
Richmond (TRAC) (l), Dr. Bruce Harter, Superintendent 
of the West Contra Costa Unified School District, 
and architect Bruce Brubaker

Bruce Beyaert telling LBNL how great the trails
and parks of Richmond are.  He ought to know.
He negotiated for the land and got the trails built.

Richmond Fire Chief Richard Banks is seated with a white
paper on his lap.  In the row behind him
are Betty Reid Soskin, the oldest park ranger in
the United States, another ranger and then
Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus. 

Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus reading
words of welcome to LBNL.

Don Gosney was photographing
the event from the balcony.

First row on the end is McKinley Williams, President of Contra Costa College.  Two rows back from him, wearing a red jacket is former CCC archeology professor George Coles and next to him is Pat Pearson from the Masquers Playhouse.

People were lined up waiting to speak to the LBNL representative who was standing on the other side of the stage.  Last in this line is John Ziezenhenne, of M.A. Hays Insurance company, a former city councilperson who ran unsuccessfully for City Council again last time and lost. 

Former WCCUSD school board member 
Karen Fenton in the red blouse, and her husband 
Jay Fenton.  I think they are wearing LBNL buttons.

This is the Lawrence Berkeley 
National Laboratory representative.
Sorry I did not find out what his name was.  

State Senator Mark DeSaulnier.

California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier is wearing the blue shirt.  He represents part of Contra Costa County, though not Richmond.  DeSaulnier showed up to represent the interests of the State of California, hopefully on our side.

That's Richmond's official photographer Ellen Gailing waving her hand.

In this photo is architect Andrew Butt, 
with red hair and beard. 

WCCUD school board member Tony Thurmond 
gave his sales pitch for the City.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Linda Drake Art featured at Point Richmond Art Collective

Linda Lee Calvan Drake, Featured Artist
First Gallery Showing of Series "Vintage Views of Old Point Richmond Town"
"Point Taken", Linda Lee Calvan Drake, Artist
Point Taken   
Date:    Saturday, July 23rd, 2011
Time:    4:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Place:   Point Richmond Art Collective at deWitt Gallery and Framing
            121 Park Place  Point Richmond, CA 94801 
Phone: 510/778-1480              
"Fusion" California Cuisine will be served 
About the Artist:            Linda Lee Calvan Drake, local artist and Point Richmond native will have her first gallery showing of selected works of her series "Vintage Views of Old Point Richmond Town". 
Artist Statement:           "I illustrate colorful whimsical interpretations of Victorian residences on the hills of Point Richmond, treasured beaches, boats, secret places and vintage buildings. I call this series of images Vintage Views of Old Point Richmond Town. As a Point Richmond native, I have always appreciated the ability of Point Richmond to be an oasis in our reality. Each Victorian home brings interest to the present with surprising tales from the past. I have collected many of the vintage tales from family and friends in Point Richmond. Illustrating, painting and writing allow me to share this knowledge with some artistic license.
The Point was a very cool place to live in as a child. I have memories of paddling my surfboard out to the end of the Keller's and Long Wharf piers. I still find joy in the relentless sound of fog horns, watching the tug boats, children playing on the beaches and the occasional resident kayaking along the shoreline. While I have witnessed the slow growth of commercialism and the ever growing population on the vacant hills of my youth, I will always enjoy the whimsical characteristics of Old Point Richmond Town."
Linda Lee Calvan Drake            510.672.0793    

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wig Wag drowns as large water main break floods Point Richmond entryway

One historic wig wag looks like it finally hit the dust, as a large water main break flooded West Richmond Avenue at South Garrard Blvd., in Point Richmond,  in the early hours of the morning, July 15, 2011.  These photos were taken on my way out of Point Richmond at 8:30 a.m. when the water was gushing and flooding the street and intersections, and on my way back home at 3:30 when they had turned off the water and were left with a large cave-in filled with concrete and asphalt and a broken wig wag.   The location is between the newly rebuilt Plunge and the Mechanics Bank, near the railroad tracks.  What would cause a water main break like this?  I have no idea.  Your guess is as good as mine, probably better.  Water pressure from the water tank on top of the hill? Where I come from, people open fire hydrants on hot days when they want this much water.  This was really a lot of water.

8:30 a.m. at West Richmond Avenue and 
South Garrard Blvd.,
Point Richmond, CA, see Yahoo maps

8:30 a.m. at West Richmond Avenue and 
South Garrard Blvd.,
Point Richmond, CA
With a big refinery a few hundred yards away,
you'd think there would be a lot of people
around here who know a lot about pipelines.
I am glad this is not oil or gasoline.

8:30 a.m. at West Richmond Avenue and 
South Garrard Blvd.,
Point Richmond, CA

8:30 a.m. at West Richmond Avenue and 
South Garrard Blvd.,
Point Richmond, CA

8:30 a.m. at West Richmond Avenue and 
South Garrard Blvd.,
Point Richmond, CA

8:30 a.m. at West Richmond Avenue and 
South Garrard Blvd.,
Point Richmond, CA

8:30 a.m. at West Richmond Avenue and 
South Garrard Blvd.,
Point Richmond, CA, that's my windshield in the 
lower part of the photo

3:30 on the way back home.  There were once two wig
wags.  This one is going to be lonely.  Do two disabled
wig wags have the right to remain together, or will
Jim Crow laws prevail?

3:30 on the way back home. That's probably
the end of this wig wag.  The Santa Fe RR wanted to
get rid of them.  This History Society wanted
to keep them.  Looks like the railroad got its way
again. Historically, the railroad won most of
its battles.

Poor old wig wag was too heavy to live.
Maybe they will close the railroad line through
the tunnel forever and make the tunnel into
another bar.  Or how about a strip mall
in an old historic railroad tunnel?  Have any ideas
for creative land re-use?  The Point
Richmond Neighborhood Council gave Treasurer Art
Mowry a plaque of appreciation for getting the
drive-by mailbox and then he publicly predicted that
he might have another wig wag fight on his hands
pretty soon.   Maybe he knows something about it.

These people didn't know anything or else
they just weren't talking to the press.  One asked
me if I was the president of the homeowners'
association.  I said no, I was just passing by
on my way home and couldn't ignore it.  It was
too big to ignore.  Too big to turn my head the other way.


Sunday afternoon EBMUD employees were hard
at work repairing the huge cave-in in the street
in front of the Mechanics Bank.  Here they are
picking up big piles of concrete with a front
loader and putting it into a dump truck.

It became a big equipment show for the passersby, 
including many children going to the Plunge, which remained open--this
is a busy intersection for Point Richmond.  Notice this
shiny new EBMUD truck parked here.  You can see the dirty one
that does all the work in another photo.

Another shot of the front loader picking up concrete.

This dad had gotten his small son out of bed
to come and see the work.  He forgot to
get the child out of his pajamas.

Here's a photo of a man in the pit.  I do not cross
the yellow line to take photos, so I could not get
close enough to the pit to photograph it.  Believe me,
you don't want to find out what happens to you
if you cross that yellow or orange police tape.

Another photo of the pit, just so you can see how
big it is.  Back in the 1970's architec t Tom Butt
commissioned the Point Counterpoint editor (me)
to create a historic display that would be inside
the Plunge next to the reception counter.  I was given a 
diagram of a pipeline that led fromthe Plunge
out to the Bay and I was told that the pipeline 
fed salty water into the Plunge.  I think what really
happened was that the Plunge was built as an emergency
storage for gasoline and the pipeline from the Plunge
to the bay was to serve as a refueling pipeline in time
of war.  They would not be able to see it from the air,
so it was not likely to be bombed.  That's my guess,
anyway.  Now the Plunge has been completely rebuilt,
but the emergency pipelines are still there getting very old, just no
longer connected to the Plunge.  This might have been
one of them, but I will probably never know for sure
where all that water came from. I'm pretty sure it
didn't come from the Plunge itself, since the Plunge
remained open.

Still trying to get a good shot of the man in the pit.

What's left of the wig wag has been moved to a parking
place next to the bank.

They were still working at 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening.  
The repair was almost complete.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What's on the agenda?

SEPTEMBER 9, FRIDAY, POINT RICHMOND MUSIC FESTIVAL, FREE, 5 P.M.TO 8 P.M., PARK PLACE, POINT RICHMOND.   Afterwards, come over to the Refined By Fire gallery on West Richmond AVenue for an after-concert party and to celebrate Jean Womack's beautiful jewelry on display there.

Through October 1 at the Masquer's Playhouse, 105 Park Place, Point Richmond, THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP, Charles Ludlam's comic masterpiece, directed by Robert Love.  All seats $20.  Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2 pm on 9-11, 9-18 and 9-25.   call call 510-232-4031 for reservations or order online at  Box office opens 1/2 hours before curtain.

September 11. Sunday, Solano Stroll.  10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The great granddaddy of strolls and street fairs.  It starts at the top of Solano and goes all the way to the bottom at San Pablo Avenue.  You can join the stroll any place in between.

September 13, Tuesday, 8 am to 2 pm, Economic Summit, Richmond Memorial Auditorium.  Sponsored by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.  Featured speakers, Dr. Chris Thornberg, Beacon Economics, and Sunne Wright McPeak, California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF), workshops.  Includes breakfast and lunch.   For more information

September 23, Friday, 5:30 to 8 p.m.  last 2011 Point Richmond Music Festival.  Park Place, Point Richmond. free.   Bands will be Michael O'Neill,, and Tom Rigney & Flambeau,

September 24 & 25, Art Car Festival.  On Septemer 24, art cars will travel from Amoeba Music in San Francisco to Amoeba Music in Berkeley, 2455 Telegraph Avenue.  on September 25, the art cars will join a parade up University Avenue, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., there will be a festival at the MLK park near the Cal campus.  for more information

October 1 & 2, Swim a Mile for women with cancer, Mills College, Trefethen Aquatic Center, Oakland, CA, to register.

October 8, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., 100 Nonprofit Agencies will be there for you at the Richmond Auditorium.  Sponsored by the Unity in the Community project.  Also there will be free live music, free food, free children's activities, community outreach,speakers, raffles and prizes.  For more information

October 21, Former President Bill Clinton comes to Richmond.  Details to follow, as they become available.  It's a health fair to discuss air pollution among other things.

West Side Branch library hours are Monday 1:30 to 7 p.m.; Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1 - 5 p.m.; Friday, Saturday, Sunday closed. Story time every Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. 

Every Wednesday through October, 4 pm to 8 pm, Farmer's Market, Park Place, Point Richmond

SS Red Oak Victory, now docked at 1337 Canal Blvd., Berth 6A, Richmond, CA 94804, Ship Phone: 510-237-2933, PASSPORT STAMP STATION Open 10am - 3pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Some Sundays. All hours are subject to the availability of the volunteer staff as well as inclement weather. Please call before your visit: 510-237-2933 Small fee $5 for adults, Note access to the ship requires walking up a steep ramp and the ability to climb stairs. For group tour and event booking information call Lorraine at 510-222-0955 For current updates and directions: 

Point Richmond History Association Museum, 139 1/2 Washington Avenue, Point Richmond, open Thursdays from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm and Saturdays from11:30 pm to 2:00 pm 510-234-5334, 510-235-1336, and 510-965-0335 fax 

West Contra Costa Unified School District.  First day of school is BEFORE LABOR DAY.  It's August 23, a minimum day.

Contra Costa College, San Pablo.  College fall classes start August 12.  Sign up now.  It would be better if they could start classes after Labor Day, but that's not how it is.  We just have to accept it.

Community Resource Guide: you can downloan the 92-page community resource guide published by Contra Costa County at Many thanks to Linda Andrew-Marshall for sending me calendar items about events at the Point Richmond Methodist church.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"Bad Teacher" movie review

Movie review of "Bad Teacher" (rated R)
by Jean Womack

There's a lot bad about Cameron Diaz in the movie “Bad Teacher” now at the Century 21 Hilltop movie theatre and not much to like except her long legs and small boobs and her great acting. She is the quintessential villain.  In fact, I learned something about being bad from this movie, which makes me grateful it got an R rating so kids will not learn that stuff until they are old enough to know better. It only got two stars from Roger Ebert, but you might want to decide for yourself.  He probably didn't like violence against teachers either, even if it's just getting hit with a basketball.

Diaz exhibits her two faced personality to anyone who comes close to her, but when I looked around, everyone in the theatre was smiling. On the way out, the people ahead of me said they liked the movie and thought Cameron Diaz was funny and a very good actress.  I have to agree.  She carried the show.

Diaz in the role of Elizabeth Halsey was strongly supported by Lucy Punch, playing Miss Amy Squirrel.  She's the foil for Miss Halsey, telling her that she was not supposed to show a movie on the first day of school. Instead she was supposed to play ice breakers with the kids. So what do you suppose Miss Halsey does with the kids for the next two weeks? You guessed right...more movies.

Russell Gettis playing gym teacher Jason Segel, was the only really physically attractive man in the movie. He managed to disappoint Miss Halsey because he could not pull himself off the ground on the rope hanging from the gym ceiling. “Not much upper body strength,” he told her apologetically as if he did not want her to be disappointed with his possible performance in the bedroom. The rest of the men wore glasses and presented themselves as non-seductive teaching machines--a little more like how it really is in real life. Justin Timberlake plays Miss Squirrel's man friend.

A contrived plot features Halsey as wanting to acquire $10,000 so she can have breast enlargements. You'd think anyone with as beautiful a body as Cameron Diaz would be happy the way she was, but the desire to have more frontal flesh leads Diaz to offer her services to a kids' carwash. She slithers around on the soapy cars and pockets the kids' carwash earnings, wearing a bare midriff and very short shorts.  

One San Francisco teacher who wore clothing like that was arrested for having sex with a student back around 2005. I knew she wore tight clothing because I subbed for her. She may have been a real movie star doing research in that San Francisco middle school.  That happened long after I left that school.

Miss Squirrel rats about the embezzelment to the principal, Mr. Snur, played by Michael Higgins, who seems to be the only sane person working at that school. The only one I could identify with was the fat teacher Lynn Davies, played by Phyllis Smith. She is invited to smoke a joint by Miss Halsey and when she tries to say no, Halsey demands that she do it, as the gym teacher stands by and watches. “Just do it!” Halsey demands. That's what she got for trying to be friends with the bad teacher.

Poison is Miss Halsey's specialty in this movie. She retaliates against Miss Squirrel by rubbing an apple with poison oak and leaving it for Miss Squirrel to find, who rubs it against her face before chomping off a big piece. Miss Squirrel winds up in the emergency room with big red welts on her cheek and God only knows what it did to her esophagus. Miss Halsey's repertroire includes several kinds of illegal drugs, some of which I did not know what they were, and knockout drops in the drink of a man she has gotten drunk and persuaded to have sex with her in his office. Presumably she took his wallet while he was out cold, but I left the theatre to throw my popcorn container in the trash at that point so I missed it. Then I reminded myself that I could not write a valid review if I had not sat through the whole movie, so I went back into the theater.

They could have called it a school for scandal but instead they preferred to introduce the element of innocence in the person of the school children. But most of the badness was done between and among the adults, as I said before, thank goodness. Including making love with all their clothing on. I have to admit, I never saw that before in a movie.

At the end of the movie, Miss Squirrel has decided to transfer to the worst school in the district, taking her teacher fiancee Justin Timerblake along with her. Miss Halsey once again announces that she is leaving teaching for good and will not be back. The only thing missing was Arnold.

I am sorry I lost my sense of humor about teachers in this movie. It wasn't as funny as the Berkeley art teacher who told a kid who asked him why he got a “D,” on his report card, “I must have been grading you on your personality.” To me, that was funny.  And in fact the kid he was talking to, laughed too.  Of course if I had said that, I would have gotten in trouble.

In fact at one school where I subbed for a long time, a man teacher invited me to have lunch in his classroom and gave me a rose, because it was rose day at that school.  When I tried to give him a rose back, the teacher who was selling the roses, wouldn't sell me one to give him, saying it was too late for that and they were all out of roses.  She wanted me to play a video for the kids which propounded the theme that they were going to have their children taken away from them until they got clean and sober and then they were going to get their kids back.  But I refused to play it because it had swearing in the movie.  I said I didn't believe they were going to get their kids back.  I turned it off at the first swear word I heard.  Swearing is the tipoff that the movie is unsuitable for children.  Hollywood makes movies that way so teachers do not have to waste time deciding if the movie is suitable to be shown to children.  That San Francisco teacher said if I didn't show that movie, she would have my job.  It's sort of like being forced to smoke pot--"Just do it." But unlike the teacher in the movie,  I wouldn't do it.

As an afterthought I'd like to mention that the civil rights movement of the 1960's, put pressure on Hollywood not to portray African-Americans as criminals like "Bad Teacher."  If Miss Halsey was played by an African American, it probably would never have opened in any movie theatre anywhere.  Now that it is wartime, one could make a good case for censorship of this movie portrayal of teachers in general.  I think the Commission on Teacher Credentialing does not issue credentials to people like that. You'd think that after a person spent more than ten years in college, they would know everything there is to know about that person.

Teachers who have done much less than Cameron Diaz have been run out of teaching. Just yelling at kids or saying to them, “Get your ass back here,” is enough to get a teacher canned, in real life.  Maybe not the first time, but after two or three times.  Miss Halsey is definitely NOT your typical public school teacher. But I know that she will linger in fantasy in the the minds of the people who catch this piece of summer fluff.  As my son used to say to me, "Mom, it's just a movie."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

White House promotes face painting in July 4 video

President Obama has been helping the cause of face painters on a regular basis.  If it wasn't for the face paint on the child, it would just be an ordinary ho hum photo of the President.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Number patterns with the Sieve of Eratosthenes

A prime number, you will recall, is divisible only by one and itself.  This is important when it comes to figuring out the lowest common denominator (LCD).

How can we know if a number is prime?  The ancient Greeks had a method to find primes of a given umber, and through the centuies it has become known as the Sieve of Eratosthenes.

This summer fun number exercise about prime numbers is from Mathematics Methods for Elementary and Middle School Teachers, by Hatfield, Edwards, Bitter and Morrow, pub by John Wiley and Sons, New York, (c) 2000

More than 2000 years ago the Greek mathematician Eratosthenes created a process to help sieve (filter out) the composite numbers, leaving only the prime numbers.  There are many interesting patterns to be found by using the Sieve of Eratosthenes.  Teachers can lead students to discover many of the patterns on their own by asking a few leading questions such as the ones found in the problem-solving exploration that follows.


1.  You are asked to use six colors on the Sieve of Eratosthenes so that you can see the number patterns more easily.  The colors of yellow, green, pink, light blue, red, and black are suggested, but any eye-catching colors will do.

2.  On the chart in step 4, find the first prime humber, which is 2, and circle it with a red marker.  Now slash (/) all the multiples of 2 using the red marker.  You hve just eliminated all even numbers because they are composites.  Note the color pattern you have just created.

3. Now find the next prime which is 3 and circle it with a green marker.  Sieve (/) all the multiples of 3 using the green marker.  Some numbers now have a red and green slash.  You can easily see the numbers that are multiples of both 2 and 3.  Note the color pattern created by the green slashes.

4. Follow the same procedure using this color code:

Primes            Color
five                 = yellow
seven              = black
eleven             = pink
all others         = light blue

1         2        3        4        5        6        7        8        9       10

11      12     13      14       15     16      17      18      19       20

21      22     23       24      25     26      27      28       29      30

31      32     33       34      35     36      37       38      39       40

41      42     43      44       45     46      47       48      49       50

51      52      53      54      55      56      57       58      59      60

61      62      63      64       65      66     67       68      69      70

71     72       73      74      75       76      77      78       79      80

81     82       83      84       85      86      87      88       89      90

91     92       93      94       95      96      97      98       99    100

Questions based on the Sieve of Eratosthenes

1. How many of the first 100 numbers are prime?

2. Of the first 25 numbers, what percent are multiples of three numbers?  Of the second 25 numbers, what percent are multiples of three numbers?

3. Would you expect this number to increase or decrease as we continue to go through the number system?  Why?

4. The number of primes in the first 50 numbers is what fractional portion of the total primes in the first 100 numbers?  What about the second 50 numbers?

5. Will the relationship found in question 4 hold for the second 100 numbers?  What could be done to find out?

6. When is the first time that a multiple of 7 has not been crossed out by a multiple of a smaller prime?

7. What do you notice about multiples of 11?  Predict at which number the multiple of 11 will be crossed out for the first time with no smaller primes as its multiple.

New Chevron video features Point Richmond scenes

A new Chevon video features many Point Richmond scenes, from downtown Point to views from Miller Park looking towards the tank farm.  Here's the view from my street!  I can see my house!

Chevron recently issued new RFP's (request for proposals) for individuals and groups who are interested in getting grants.  They were issued on July 1 and are due on August 1, 2011.  Those documents are linked on their web page

Last year Chevron gave more than $3.7 million in grants to the local (West Contra Costa) community in four categories: 1. economic development and job creation 2. education 3. public safety and youth services, and 4. civic and the community.

Usually individuals are not granted money directly, but must find a fiscal agent (middleman) which is a non-profit organization--what is called a 501 C3 organization.  That is an IRS designation.  That means the corporation can give money to non-profit groups that work towards goals the corporation approves of, INSTEAD of paying that money in taxes.  That way the corporation knows its tax money is directed towards the local community in ways which ultimately benefit the corporation; for example, local workers who are better prepared in math and science; or local public safety that increases the security of the refinery because of safer conditions in the local area.

This kind of corporate giving is common in the foundation world, where wealthy families (for example people who made millions in the railroad business), set up foundations to give money to projects they like, such as symphonies or ballet companies, instead of giving it to the IRS.  Even basketball players like Magic Johnson, can set up a foundation to give money to causes that he likes, such as an AIDS clinic on University Avenue in Berkeley, that hundreds of people drive by every day.

Grant writers are trained to research the types of grants that specific foundations make.  Chevron has given grant money to many people in the local area and you'd expect those recipients to be somewhat loyal to that corporation, just as employees are legally obligated to be loyal to the company they work for and not bad-mouth them and turn their customers away. (Thanks to Ron Weston's CCC business law class for that tidbit of information.)  Not that they have to go along with criminal activity, but just report it to the police and then shut up about it.  If the police choose not to do anything about it, like the giant cannabis expo that is coming to  the Craneway in August, you have a choice to run for public office or go live somewhere else (just kidding).  When I worked there in 1988, I told my supervisor that my co-worker had been telling me, not just once but over and over, that her husband was selling marijuana.  That young woman really knew how to get rid of the competition, since we were all temps who were competing for permanent jobs.  My supervisor told me I had to get a counselor as a condition for my continued employment.  I said, I am going to a psychiatrist who is also a lawyer, isn't that good enough?  But she said no, I had to have a counselor.  I did not even know what a counselor was because I had never gotten in trouble in high school and had never been sent to a counselor.  I think I got in trouble in college for coming back to the dorm after curfew, but that was different.  So that woman whose husband was selling dope, was still there when I got layed off.  I wish I still had that job as a clerk typist in contracts.  It was a good paying job with lots of overtime and the people were nice to me.  One problem was that I was still smoking cigarettes in 1988, but I have quit smoking since then, thank goodness.  Some people don't know the difference between marijuana smoke and cigarette smoke, which can be smelled on a person's clothing and hair.  So maybe she thought she was smelling marijuana on me but it was just tobacco smoke.  But I think she really knew the difference and that was just her way of competing and making people see me in a bad light.

And then there was the lawyer who rented my spare room who wanted me to smoke marijuana with his buddy.  I said no, but they still pestered me to do that until I finally called the police.  The police said they couldn't do anything about it unless he did it in public.  So I finally evicted him.  He said I had to evict him legally (since he was a lawyer), so I gave him a 30-day notice and a 3-day notice.  I knew how to do that because I had been a legal secretary.  I think he was glad to move out because he had already gotten someone else pregnant, as I realized 25 years later when I met his son and his grandson, who looked just like him.  I was head over heels in love with his dad, who I thought was the handsomest man on the face of the earth, with beautiful strawberry blond hair, blue eyes, the whole nine yards.  In my eyes he was as handsome as a movie star.   It's hard to accuse someone like that of rape.  But I was not willing to smoke pot with his buddies.

They can rent your room, seduce you, break your heart and you still cannot ask them for any money other than what they agreed to pay for the room rent. And I didn't.  In fact he said he didn't even have money for the rent, so I gave him some historic posters that Joel Beck and I had created, to sell.  But he didn't want to stay away from illegal drugs.  I consider myself lucky that I got away from him because I don't want to use illegal drugs and I don't want to sleep around.  I am a faithful-to-one-man type of woman.  I was beginning to wonder if it was some kind of military operation, which was some kind of pacification campaign as was described about Vietnam.  And that was going to occur with a whole new bunch moving in every four to eight years.  But maybe he was in a bar or sitting in a coffee shop or went to a meeting and they sprayed him with that stuff and then he came home not even knowing he had been hit.  And when he realized what happened, he blamed me for it, but I had nothing to do with it.  And if I could have stopped it, I would have stopped it.

But they weren't done with me.  I guess they wanted to use me to blackmail a few more of their so-called friends, the ones they wanted to "get something on" so they could fire them if they wanted to, like they did to Congressman Anthony Wiener.   It's a gang that has very low morals.  It's hard for me to accuse someone of rape whom I basically like and who didn't hurt me physically, just took advantage of me when I was drunk or got me loaded and I didn't know it.  All that time I was a single woman, not married, so it wasn't adultery.  It's what they call "dating." And it wasn't until I started teaching in the Mission District that I found out what they "wanted to get on" people.  A kid held up a bottle of men's cologne and announced to me in front of the class that it was heroin.  That's what my old boyfriend meant when he said they wanted to get something on me.  It was actually in the air, completely invisible. I almost had a heart attack right there in the classroom when he stood up and said that, and later the principal was laughing at me for being so naive.  She refused to let me talk to her, (pretended she was busy talking to someone else), so I had to write it all down and hand her the report on my way out the door of that school.

My journalism advisor  at Laney College said I had to say I was raped or they would say I was a prostitute.  How cold is that?  I'm not a prostitute!  I never asked anyone for money for sex.  What's wrong with this picture?  Where's the love and caring between a man and a woman?  Where's the Friday night at the movies, the dinner out, the holding hands, the long car trips, the making plans for the future?  Of course that works out if he has a job and an income. Otherwise the people have to live on love, I guess.  I don't know how to do that anymore. Doesn't anyone remember what it's like to be young?

So I finally stopped having roommates. Also I stopped drinking and smoking cigarettes.   My husband gives me enough money to live on so I no longer have to rent my spare room.  It's his for as long as he wants it, even though he lives in his own house that he bought while he was living with me.  I am proud that he was able to save up enough money to buy himself a house.

I already know what is going to happen and I don't want to get my heart broken again.  I miss having a man around but there are so many women in this area who will do anything they can to take a man away from me, including getting pregnant, that what's the point in getting started with a guy?  He's going to be out the door in a couple of months.  In fact, you will find very few low rent rooms in Point Richmond since City Councilman Tom Butt cleaned the place up many years ago.  It's just a lonely life, that's all.

I had some good roommates too, who went to work or to school and didn't have people overnight and didn't use illegal drugs, and I had some very nice civil conversations with them.  What happens when you tell a woman you have known for a long time that she cannot have her Indian man friend overnight?  That's not going to make her like you any better.  But if you let her do that, you can pretty much expect that he is going to take over the situation and dominate both of you, because that's how they are.  I just rented the room to one person, not two.  If they want to spend the night together, they can go to his place, or there's a motel right nearby.  So I said no, and she moved out a few weeks later, so I guess they moved in together.  I hope they got their own place because it looked like they were meant for each other.  

They think if a woman is totally alone and lonely for years and years, that's a better situation. One of their main people said she was more interested in any man I was with just because I was with him, and she had dedicated herself to breaking up all my love relationships.  When I first met them they had said they were going to take over the rackets.  They were going to break up crime families (police officers families).  It was pretty easy to get them to attack almost anyone just by slandering them, which was my ex husband's specialty.   They basically have no respect at all for women and I think the men advocate giving the woman a bad experience to stop her from hanging out in bars--what kind of bad experience is not specified.  This is all part of what is called "experiential learning," which is pervasive in community colleges and other educational institutions around here.  I do not agree with that.  I don't go along with that. Experiential learning is just another word for doing something bad, hurtful, and probably illegal to someone else.   I think education means book learning.  You learn it from a book so that you don't have to have the bad experience. My mother thought that was what novels were for--so the person didn't have to do all those things herself to learn about it.

So you won't get much help from the police when it comes to illegal drugs.  In fact, they told me that a dog was my best protection.  Now they have even decided to legalize marijuana.  We watched them do it right there in the city council meeting this year.  When they asked him what he thought about it, Chief Magnus said he wanted more information. I guess he thought that people were afraid to talk about drugs if they were illegal.  However, I have heard the propaganda line and I don't want to listen to it again or repeat it to anyone.  Hey, someone has to be against it, and you'd expect the police to be against it, wouldn't you?  Wrong again.  Who is going to say no to drugs?  Journalists?  School teachers?  Parents?  But then they don't get any backup from the police?

I guess there had been a lot of hatred generated towards drug users and the government decided to turn the tide.  They decided that the government was becoming too punitive.  It was risking revolution for the government to be so oppressive.   So now no longer could people despise junkies who sold their family down the river, stole from their parents and friends, lied about where they were going and what they were doing, couldn't hang on to a job, disrupted classrooms, lost husbands and wives, fathered children without being married, and so on.   They were basically the kind of people who were ruining their own lives and were possibly going to pull everyone else down with them.

There were too many deaths and suicides, so the government decided to turn the tide the other way, so they could at least enable people to talk about it, and they could get taxes for it, though I hear it is still illegal at the federal level.  That means Federal agents are not allowed to smoke it.  No, silly, it means that federal agents can arrest you for smoking it, possessing it, growing it and selling it.  There just aren't very many federal agents compared to local police. But here in Richmond we have community policing.  But they can't do much if a person rolls a tobacco cigarette that looks like a very fat marijuana joint, except don't hang around with that person anymore.   According to the late Bob Peckham, who was at one time a cop, community policing means the police don't do anything about it: the community does the policing (gangland style).  The police just turn their heads the other way.  So that's just like the old south where the only people who got police service were the white people, and the white cops did not go into the black part of town.  So the black people did not have any police services and had to create their own system of policing themselves.  That was one of the things that the civil rights movement attempted to address by demanding that cities hire some black cops: complete lack of law enforcement services for large segments of the population.  I think possibly if the police turn their heads the other way, it's because the person is not actually doing anything illegal.

In the San Francisco public school where my classroom was disrupted by a student yelling out "cocaine," in the middle of class,  I immediately told him to leave the room and go to the counselor.  I had been told not to lead discussions about drugs, so I did not want to get dragged down into that argument and give him a chance to propound the pro-drug propaganda line.  Hopefully the teachers are teaching the kids to identify the propaganda line as just that: propaganda.   That's a whole 'nother topic from what I am relating to you here.

My job was to teach the lesson plan left by the regular teacher, which did not include a discussion of drugs, although I was permitted and encouraged to review the school rules when I went into the classroom, by the San Francisco State credential program.  That kid was disrupting the classroom.  The rest of the kids thanked me for asking him to leave the class.  Later on they had a parent teacher meeting but the parent did not show up.  They said I didn't have to be there, but I showed up anyway.  I think the phone call to the mother had been intercepted by the mother's boyfriend, who was the one who appeared at the school.  I think if she had gotten the message herself, she would have done her utmost to show up at the school.  The Dean of Boys said to the kid's parent, "THIS person (meaning me) has a license," as if he could hardly believe it himself.   I guess what he meant by that was that I had a California Clear Credential, not just an emergency 30 day teaching permit.

At another San Francisco school a similar thing happened with a different outcome.  Some kids started talking about cocaine in an art class where I was subbing, but that time I called the police there in San Francisco.  On the other end of the phone was the son of some local Point Richmond people.  I recognized his voice.  He said, "Why don't you tell the principal about your experience with cocaine? "  Well, I never had any experience with cocaine.  I was invited to a party by a local bartender and when I got there, she offered me some cocaine, which I turned down.  She told the other people at the party that was OK, they needed a designated driver.  Later on she accused me of not calling the cops.  She said I should call the cops.  If I didn't call the cops, I was part of the problem.  That's how it is around here.  They offer you illegal drugs and if you don't call the cops, you get in trouble.  And they could be on the other end of the telephone when you call them. And they will be telling you that they can't do anything about it, get a dog.  But still, I cannot let some big kids sell cocaine in my classroom.  I know it is terrifying to some of the kids in the classroom.  It's not good for education.   I have to stop it somehow.  But the police are not going to be much help.  I don't know what they are getting paid for: to run me out of Lincoln High School in San Francisco, I guess.  If it was a party, I would ask them to take it outside, please don't use that stuff in my house.  I don't waste valuable art time to discuss illegal drugs.  When there are illegal drugs in the area, that takes over and dominates everything else.  You have to stop what you are doing and pay attention to the illegal drugs.  That's another reason that stuff, whatever it is, is illegal.

After going to college for three years in the east, I was asked to take a year off and figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  I had no real goal.  It's hard to go to a rigorous college if you don't have a goal. You don't have a reason to do all those long hours of studying, endless dry reading lists, except to please your parents.  And the parents are not even around.  They are hundreds  of miles away.  I was required to take 20 units a semester and I did not have the option to drop a course.  A graduate student in the teaching credential program takes, at most, 16 units a semester.  I would advise anyone who does not have a burning desire to achieve a particular goal that they need college to achieve, to go to college close to home.

Although I drank liquor in college when it was offered to me, (my family served us kids Mogen David wine about three or four times a year.)  I never saw any illegal drugs until after I left college and went home.  As I said, I was 20 years old and had been staying out late at night and sleeping late in the morning.  My dad and mother got very mad at me and told me to get a job or move out of the house.  So I got a job in a coffee shop and moved in with some hippies who were living in an abandoned house on a street where they were going to build a community college.  That's where a traveling hippie came through and passed a pot pipe around and we all took a toke on it.  He turned out to be my sister's ex husband, though I only learned that about 40 years later.  That's probably why I was not invited to their wedding or to any of their events, and didn't even meet their sons until they were grown up.  Because I might have recognized him and told everyone that he was a drug pusher.  However, I never went to bed with him, thank goodness.  Because of him I didn't get to have a family.  That's what illegal drugs do to a family.  When my mother slapped me and told me my room was dirty, it wasn't me who was the dirty one.  I guess they had decided to really get rid of me and put me where the sun don't shine, where my dad would never forgive me for the rest of my life, because he thought I had brought illegal drugs to the family.  But it wasn't me.  It was my sister's ex husband..

The drug dealer told me if I ever went to Atlanta, I should go to the Carrousel Lounge because it had the best jazz in Atlanta.  So when Eastern Airlines sent me to Atlanta, I called up the Unitarian church and asked if they had anyone there who would take me to listen to the jazz.  I was still too young to drink in Georgia.  That's how I met my ex husband who brought me out to California and dumped me out here after  I had given birth to our son, he had lost his job with the newspaper and his PR job with some politicians, and we had no income and were being evicted from our house.  He was looking around for someone to blame for everything going wrong and of course he wasn't going to blame himself.  That's what I was there for.  He wasn't going to blame himself for the the pot parties and him smoking weed with his buddies in the living room while I cooked hamburgers for them in the kitchen.  I figured this out after we had been divorced for more than 15 years, separated for more than 20 years and our son was graduating from West Point.  He had lived with his dad from the ages of 16 to 18 when he joined the Army. He had gone to Hawaii to live with his dad over my objections.  I didn't want him to go.   I had not seen my son's dad in a long time.  I was trying to think of something nice to say to him on this happy occasion of our son's graduation from college.  So I said, "You did a good job with my son."  He pointed to his wife KT and said, "She did it all."

I am telling you all this because it looks like all this is going to be replayed now that people think that marijuana has become legal.  But not in my house!

So back in 1969 he didn't have a job and we were about to lose our low rent house with a view of three bridges that we had been living in since we moved to Point Richmond.  That's when I took my son and went back to North Carolina. Bill told me that he had made arrangements to move in with Art Carter (aka Dick Durbin) and I thought he meant HE was going to move in with Art, but there was not going to be room for me there too.  So I took my son and went back to North Carolina, got a job in the library and put my son in childcare at a very beautiful Presbyterian Church a couple of blocks from the library.  So I did not move into that house until I returned to California a year and a half later, which only postponed what they were going to do to me, which was to set me up with another man, so Bill could get a divorce without paying any spousal support.   Art Carter was not there: he was just renting them the house.

So I really did not have any experience at all with cocaine, unless you count all the dental work I had done, but that's not cocaine: that's novocaine.  And none of that had anything to do with Chevron, that I am aware of.

When you are in college you will find out that the college professor has what used to be called teacher's pets, ie., favorites who seem to get preferential treatment.  And you would be right.  It's true.  It's college.  It's not high school.  Things are different in college.  The teacher can have favorites and no one can stop him, so get used to it.  For example, in my Intermediate Algebra class there was an elderly woman who walked with a walker who would start complaining around the middle of the class period, that she could not do the work, that she could not understand the work, that it was too hard for her.  It was a long howl and moan of an old person who was doing her best to keep up with the times.  And she was the only one he permitted to complain out loud in class.  She was the official complainer.  No one else was allowed to complain about it.  And he was kind to her.  He never objected to her complaining about how hard the class was for her.  When I started to complain or even to say things to her, like if it's too hard for you, you can always drop the class, or why did you sign up for a 6:30 class when you know you can't get here on time?  I began to realize those things which had been said to me or were just internalized in my mind, were not appropriate to say to another student.  Which all amounts to is that I should have known something that I didn't know, that I was just now finding out.

Anyway, this algebra teacher who had come over here from the College of Alameda to teach at CCC, said, "Break it up," as if two people complaining meant it was turning into a gang.  So I shut up and felt  mollified that I was not the only one who was struggling to keep up.  I'm a little dense, but the message gets through to me sometimes.  But he did not give special treatment to the Muslim women with their head-to-toe clothing or the Muslim men who sat in the back of the class to keep an eye on the women to make sure they were sufficiently silent and respectful.  I suspected that they shot off the gas that made it impossible for me to think and made the numbers look like I had never seen that formula before in my life.  You have probably had that feeling yourself, of looking at the page of computations and thinking, I have never seen this before in my life and I don't know what it means.  But I could not prove it was a gas attack, so I did not complain about it. I came in late one evening close to the beginning of the semester when the classroom was still very crowded, and had to sit in the back of the room, instead of up front like I usually did.  The men sitting near me, who were skinny men with dark curly hair smiled at me and then not long afterward I smelled a minty smell that wafted over my way.  I have no idea what it was.  We were writing down what he was putting on the board so if we did not understand it right then, we could figure it out later.  He did not ask people to memorize the formulas.  He wrote on the board from a page of notes in his hand.  Once in a while, he got confused too and wrote down the wrong thing, but we were paying attention and someone always caught the mistake.  (I think they do that on purpose to see if we are paying attention.) We were allowed to use a page of notes to take tests and we got take-home tests.  That's how it was in Statistics too.  We just had to understand the ideas well enough to apply them.  We didn't have to memorize the formulas.  But maybe memorizing formulas would be a good thing to do anyway, especially if the person wanted to teach it.

I copied his notes from the board as fast as I could, but I often fell behind, so I could not write and listen to his lecture at the same time.  I wanted to watch his writing and listen to his very good explanation of the math concepts, but I knew I needed those notes to pass the course.  So I brought my camera to class and asked for permission to take pictures of the board, which he kindly granted.  He said you can take pictures of the board, just don't take pictures of me.  Many of the other students felt that I was doing something wrong by taking photos of the board even though I had gotten permission.  They were very anti-camera, but I explained that was an example of using technology in education.  And that I had to spend the same amount of time copying the notes into my notebook when I got home.  I know that MOST university professors are very accepting about people taping lectures, (so they can be listened to over and over at home in preparation for tests) and other ways of absorbing the information.  Most of them are not worried about people stealing their ideas.   They WANT people to understand and learn their ideas.  They are being paid to propound their ideas.  That's what its all about.

If you do take a course about research in college you will find that you are supposed to meticulously attribute other people's ideas when you write a paper, using footnotes, the name of the author, the year they wrote and other ways in proper style which is either the American Psychological Association or the MLA.  I think there are two citation styles, which I no longer remember the names of.  At Swarthmore in 1960, it was an ironclad rule that one had to attribute everything to some authority.  So at Swarthmore I constructed papers out of quotes from other scholars which I carefully and conscientously put in quotes and documented with footnotes.  We had to give supportive quotes for every idea we had, as if no one that young could possibly have anything original to say.

Swarthmore was where I first found out that I could be madly in love with a young man who was just there to get his buddy off the hook because the buddy had decided not to marry me after all, after taking my virginity and being engaged for a year, during which we never did it again.  The young man was there to show me what really great passionate sex was like.  And he was also there to try to get me to turn in a paper he had written and put my name on it because he was hoping to get me thrown out of college, so he and his buddy would not have me to worry about anymore, ever.  I had had  a wonderful boyfriend in high school who had helped me get through high school by keeping me out of trouble and encouraging me to study harder.  The high school had paid him to do that.  But things were different in college.  I had deluded myself into believing that this boy loved me, even though he wanted to make love in the frat house in an area where the guys had to walk through to get from one part of the frat house, so we could be seen making love.  I refused to do that in public.  He took me to an apartment "of a friend of his" in Philadelophia that was covered with fishing nets (that was considered to be good interior decorating that year).

But Swarthmore didn't kick me out of college.  They kept me there for three years until my GPA was a D.  When the college found out about us, they didn't insist that we get married.  They told him to stop speaking to me (probably what my dad told them to do), so the only way I could be close to him was to learn how to play bridge and sit silently at his bridge table in the commons room, just so I could be near him. He said he was a scholarship student and was worried about losing his scholarship.  He said his mother was a school teacher in New York, and he didn't have enough money to attend Swarthmore if he lost his scholarship.  I don't know if its the same family, but his last name is on the name of most of the nursing homes around this area.  It's a big corporation of nursing homes.  I guess I am lucky not to be in a nursing home where I would be lucky to have enough brains to sit around playing bridge.  My dad said that some people had so much money that no one could protect them, so the U.S. Government put uniforms on them and told them to protect everyone else.  I think those are the multimillionaires that Congress is thinking about taxing but they haven't yet got up enough courage to do it.  He graduated and went to medical school in Philadelphia and became a psychiatrist.    I dropped out and never saw him again.  He wrote to me that he had married a French woman, they had kids and his hobby was refinishing furniture. If you translate that, you might find it means he married a woman who likes French kissing, and that he listens to people who hang out in bars.  Furniture is code word for people who hang out in bars, around here.   On the other hand Congressman Barbara Lee had help writing her term papers from Black Panther Huey Newton, and they didn't kick her out of Mills.  She graduated and became a Congressperson.  That was the civil rights era when colleges and universities were told to give black people the help they needed to graduate, and if that's what it took to graduate that's what they had to do.

Being subjected to the silent treatment by someone who had been my lover only the month before, whom I was madly in love with,  was something that did severe psychological damage to me later in life because, over the years,  I had more than one man friend who had made love to me and was expecting me to call him up the next day or the next week.  But I had been struck dumb by the experience and was completely unable to utter a single word, much less pick up the telephone and call him.  How screwy is that?  I guess men expect a little feedback, like how am I doing?  Do I rate a call back?  But I had no idea how to proceed, or whether they had some girlfriend or wife in hiding ready to pull the rug out from under me if I opened my mouth to say I like you a lot, let's have dinner this Friday, or just, I'll meet you in the coffee shop.  Or even, Next year in Casablanca, my dear, I'll get you out of here safely somehow.  (Got a live one on the line!)  So I got chased but I had no idea how to chase back.  I had not had any role models growing up of a woman chasing a man.  They thought that no public displays of affection meant not in front of the kids, either.  But they weren't mean to each other.  He never beat her up in front of us kids like you sometimes hear about broken families.  They had decided to co-exist for the sake of the kids.

Some of the kinds of groups who usually do NOT get money from the Chevron community foundation are "capital campaigns, personal assistance to individuals; faith-based organization; labor, fraternal, athletic, or political organizations; foundations and organizations that raise funds for other than non-profit organizations; private and charter schools; travel; and bands and sports organizations." (from Chevron Application for Community Engagement,, 2011)

The deplorable condition of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) achievements by students in local schools, is highlighted by results from 2010 STAR testing, on page 3 of Chevron's latest RFP (linked on  Mysteriously, only two percent of 11th grade ALGEBRA students scored proficient or advanced, while 41 percent of 11th grade PHYSICS students scored proficient or advanced.  Hey folks, physics is at least as difficult as algebra, if not more so.  What's the problem?

What's the problem here?  Are those kids told by their parents to flunk the STAR tests in order to get more federal money for local schools?  Only the most cynical teachers and principals would do something like that. You cannot blame this all on the teachers.  There are many parents who do not want to go along with the testing game.  Also, there are many after school programs in the local Richmond schools which address this problem, which are federally funded.  Those kids have their attention span for studying drawn out so much that they can sit and study all day if needed.  That's what it takes to succeed in college these days.  If you are sitting at home and your parent or siblings want you to pay attention to them instead of to your textbook, that is not conducive to good studying. The same thing happens in the classroom where kids have to pay more attention to the child sitting next to them than to the teacher or the textbook.   They HAVE to pay attention to that kid, because that kid might jump then on the way home.  I have seen that over and over again in the public schools.

The No Child Left Behind act even threatens mass firings of teachers who do not bring their students' test scores up, which has created a mass paranoia and fearfulness among teachers AND students.  It is this particular aspect of NCLB which is most strenuously objected to by local parents, teachers and administrators.  If that administrator thinks a child can be better served in math by a Vietnam veteran or ANY veteran, that local math teacher can kiss her job goodbye; and she better leave quietly and not complain about it too much.

I have a friend who has a father who wants to make sure his daughter does not get any more education than he had.  He is anti-academic.  He resents authority.  He thinks that people who know more about the street are smarter than people who know a lot about math and science, even though he worked as a scientist most of his life.  He sent his daughter to college because he was pressured to do so, because she had achieved high scores in student testing.  However, he had enough muscle to make sure that she did not graduate from the fancy expensive  ivy league college she was sent to.  He did not want to take any chances on her getting promoted ahead of him, or getting anything good in life that he didn't have, or that didn't come from him.    He thinks that boys are the only ones who should take math and science courses because boys have to grow up, get married and support a family.  He is on a need-to-know basis and he thinks the only ones who need to know math and science are boys.  In his eyes, there's no reason for a girl to make a good grade in math.  In fact, she might even be punished for it--for getting too big for her britches.

Of course most people do not feel this way anymore.  Those ideas pretty much went out the window in the last half of the 20th century.  But there are still a few influential ones out there.  So if you feel as if you are being stymied and prevented from succeeding, look for the hidden agenda.  It's there somewhere.  You just have to find it.

This girls' teacher understands what the girl's dad is thinking.  This girl's teacher is willing to give her a low grade even though she deserves an A+,  just to protect her from her dad.  This teacher also knows that there are some students who will get beaten up by their parents if they don't get straight A's.  So guess what kinds of grades they get?  Teachers are very special people.

Gangs usually demand bad grades because the gang leader is not a math whiz.  He majored in fear and intimidation, not math.  He doesn't want his gang members to get anything better than what he has, because they might get some of his respect and obedience away from him.  The Latinas I taught in San Francisco often silently showed me the upside-down A's on their graffiti designs. They were not allowed to excel in school.

I just got through intermediate algebra.  I'm sitting in a pre-calculus class and we're doing a review.  The kid sitting next to me has memorized the point-slope formula.  The professor smiles as the kid gives the formula without looking at his notes.  I know right away that I am dead in the water.

My algebra teacher did not ask us to memorize the formulas. He said we were supposed to learn that in elementary school.  He's new teaching in this area.  He's not going to demand any more than the class can comfortably give him. He's busy writing a book which he dictates to us as he writes it on the white board.  He's wants to walk out of the college safe at night.

Girls were not allowed to learn advanced math when I was a kid.  Most elementary school teachers are women.  My parents had to threaten the school with a lawsuit to get me into advanced math in high school in North Carolina because they wanted me to have the prerequisites for college science courses. I was the only girl in the solid and trig class in that segregated North Carolina high school.  I was not allowed to turn around or speak to any of my classmates.  My younger sister went to a different high school.  I don't know if that high school was any different because my sister and I were not communicating much by that time.  My dad's way of solving problems was to tell us not to speak to each other.  That rift continued throughout most of our lives.  He had basically deprived me and her of being sisters that way.  As I said, everyone I ever loved was taken away from me

Of course threatening the school with a lawsuit did not make the high school like me any better, so they convinced my parents to send me to the most expensive and difficult college in the United States.  I guess a person could build a case that sending me to such an expensive college and then me dropping out, caused their marriage to break up.  But my mother had been saying for years that when us kids grew up and left home, she would have a life of her own.  She had had a career before we came along and she wanted to go back to her career.  My dad said that a woman could have a career or a family but not both and she had to choose.  So he had punished her that way for not starching and ironing his shirts well enough I guess--by taking her children away from her when we grew up and she did not get to have a family around her.  But she was good at making friends, so they became her new family.  Some of them had worked with my dad and didn't like him, so they remained her friend when he left and went back up north.  So really he had broken up the family himself, and scattered us to the four winds.  So I figure that he is the one who was responsible for keeping my son in the east all these years.

My dad said he was no longer  responsible for me when I became 18 years old.  My dad said that he thought if I went back east, I would freeze to death because nobody would take me in.  I had smoked some pot back in 1963 after I dropped out of college, when my sister's ex came to where I was living and passed the pipe around.  Forty years later she called me up on the telephone and told me that man was her ex husband.  That was the thing my dad hated more than anything, so he basically disowned me at that point.  He might even have told that young man to do that for all I know.  He had been talking about white slavery in the shadow of a giant refinery in California as a possibility for me even when I was a child living in New Jersey.

Maybe you live in a land in your mind where all children are wanted and loved and cherished and nurtured and parents want their children to have a better life than they had, but that's not how it really was for me, though my dad was a good provider, but they once told me that they thought they had to get married and have a couple of kids in order to have a job with a decent salary.  My dad said I was lucky I learned how to read and write because they were considering not sending us to school at all.  Yet, he walked out on the frozen lake near our home and jumped up and down on it to make sure it was safe for us kids to skate on.  People are complex.

Contra Costa College offers courses that are the prerequisites for those college science courses my parents wanted me to be prepared for.  They are really college prep courses, because if a person went to a fancy ivy league college (many people go there when they are in their 20's, not straight out of high school), they would be starting out in calculus, not remedial geometry.

How far am I going to get in that six-week pre-calculus course?  Nada.  I ask for the code number so I can get the online tutoring I thought I bought when I bought the book from Amazon.  They don't have it.  They tell me that the book was customized for some other college.

What's the problem?  That professor favors the students he has been teaching all along, like the kid who  had memorized the point slope formula.  Is the kid who knows that formula younger than me and smarter than me?  He wants to make $15 an hour tutoring me? I don't have the money for that and my metal smithing hobby too.   I can't buy professional face paints and pay for tutoring as well.  I have to make a choice.   Maybe he has been teaching it in some other state and this is just a refresher course for him, so he can pass the CSET and get a California credential?  Perhaps his teacher told him to memorize the formulas and instead of complaining about it, he did it?  He learned it in elementary school?  What elementary school did he go to?

At one charter school I suggested that they could get grammar textbooks and memorize the grammar rules and that would help raise their test scores.  (Because I made a very good test score in high school that way.) But the vice principal did not like that idea.  He said their  English course was literature based, not grammar based.  Then he called me a nasty name, for no reason at all.  I was horrified and frightened.  He's not there anymore, but not because of anything I said or did.  Maybe there was a plainclothes officer in one of those classes who heard him say it and knew it wasn't true.  Or maybe he said it to someone else higher up than me and got fired.

I just have to realize that's life.  That's how it is for millions of people just struggling to exist and scrape by.

I do not really believe I can get a teaching credential in math, but I'm going to try anyway.

It's just three plastic pages of formulas that they sell in the bookstore for $5.95.  I know how to memorize stuff.  I can do it.  I WILL do it.

Chevron doesn't demand that people get married.  They just want them to get engaged.

This is what I got a master's degree in art
education and a teaching credential in art, to do.
It's more fun than typing.  Thanks to President Obama for
picking up some little kids who had face painting on
July 4.  It's going to help us face  painters a lot.
I could make more money as a clerk typist.
The college art professor says college is not for
making more money in your career.
Have a very happy July 4.