Sunday, December 30, 2012

Old Stuff

One of the things I've been doing in preparation for our move back to the Bay Area is cleaning out old files, junking magazines and journals I'll never read again (some of which go back to 1986, ferhevensake), and refiling stuff that I want to keep.  I have, for instance, the Naming Ceremony for friend W's daughter, thank you cards from nephew H (although the best one of those is the one he sent when he was about three, informing me that he liked his gift because it was new), and a bunch of the drafts of Proposition R, the rent control/affordable housing initiative in 1979.  Many of the drafts, which are really long, are undated, so I have no idea of the development.  I'm tossing them all, unless someone wants them.

I also found, in one of the campaign analyses, a really good idea--and not just because it was apparently mine.  (I honestly have no memory of it, but it was more than 30 years ago!)  What I proposed was taking all of the Community Development Block Grant money allocated to SF's Redevelopment Agency and reallocating it to affordable housing projects. The person/people who wrote the report noted that this was a really good idea, and redevelopment-hating crosses political lines--as in, everyone hates them.  I was so proud of my young self.  Hmm, maybe we could make a dent in our affordable housing deficit by taking all the redevelopment money for the purpose.  (Joke, folks.  Don't expect Jerry Brown to do any such thing.  The problem of affordable housing is always somewhere Jerry isn't.)

Monday, December 24, 2012

For Those of You

who missed it, the world is still here.  J took this picture on the morning of the Solstice looking out our kitchen window.  You can see the faint secondary to the right.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

No Child Left Behind

California's Department of Education is whining because the federal Education Department has refused to grant a waiver of the No Child Left Behind requirements for school improvement here.  And that's as it should be.

Whatever the problems with the No Child Left Behind requirements, California has failed to improve the performance of low-income children, particularly African-American and Latino youth.  One of the explanations raised for this is that the families of low-income students often rent their housing and are forced to move frequently.  This disrupts not only their education, but that of their classmates, both because their education is disrupted as they move from school to school, and because integrating students into new classes takes time.

Yeah, and there's a way to deal with that problem.  It's called secure housing for low-income families.  It's building affordable housing.  It's providing rent control and "just cause" eviction, so that families aren't precarious every month.  So long as our state and local governments fail to address these issues, they should be punished for their failure.  They aren't doing what needs to be done to insure that all children have equal access to education, which is a constitutional right in California.

The Department of Education should stop whining, and demand that the state provide the resources for all children to learn.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


I'm proud to be a member of a group that is overwhelmingly in favor of gun control.  The vast majority of Jewish Americans don't think that having an assault weapon at home is a good idea.  Not all of them though. There are some who argue things like, "what about the Warsaw ghetto uprising," which only shows up their lack of knowledge of history.  The Warsaw Ghetto didn't rise up because Jews there had weaponry when other Jewish communities didn't, but because the religious community joined with the secular left, and then managed to obtain what weaponry they needed.  It was a political rebellion, not a military one.

But I'm ashamed of my government.  It's not the right time to talk about gun control and mental health.  Not after some kid with mental health issues kills 18 younger kids at an elementary school?  Really?  Then when is the time?  Oh, that's right, never.

I'm proud to be an entirely unarmed American--no assault rifle, no handgun, not even a baseball bat.  That way, my husband won't get shot because I mistake him for an intruder in the middle of the night, and no kid suffering from mental illness will kill 18 children because he managed to steal my non-existent gun.

Two additional notes:

First it's not a good thing to have armed teachers.  Yeah, keep your loaded gun in your desk drawer in a room full of curious eight-year-olds. Uh-huh.  Yeah, have a shootout with a guy with an assault rifle in a room full of kids.  Where do we get people who can't figure out why that's a bad idea?  I find it irritating that people don't understand what a marginal tax rate is, but really, this doesn't require any numeracy at all.

Second, now we know why teachers get tenure and retirement packages. They're an unarmed line of defense for our kids.  In a crisis they keep their heads.  They shoo the kids into a closet and lock the door.  They face the assailant.  They're the ones who decide to lock the classroom door and get the kids to a safe corner, or to make a run to safety.