Sunday, October 19, 2014

Former SOCCCD Board President: member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans

OC Park aka Irvine Park.
OC's curious past
     The June 2011 edition of the Ship’s Log, the newsletter of the local chapter (Camp 1770) of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), begins thus:
Dear Compatriots, Family & Friends:
     I want to thank our members and friends who showed their support during our Confederate Memorial Day at Santa Ana Cemetery on May 22nd. We had folks from all over Southern California visit with us and join in our service, including the UDC [United Daughters of the Confederacy], Commanders of Inland Empire and Long Beach. Thanks to our guest speaker and member Steven Frogue for his very special words he shared with us this day [and to] the 1st NC Cavalry Reenactment Team….
     Steven Frogue, of course, was a trustee (and sometimes President) of the SOCCCD board of trustees. He served from 1992 until his resignation in the summer of 2000, which permitted the board appointment of Tom Fuentes (who then easily won election as an "incumbent" four months later).
     Since then, he's been retired (from high school teaching) and active in his church. We've sorta kept an eye on him. See Weird Uncle Steve, living in obscurity.
     And he's been active in other organizations, it seems. Steve has always seen himself as a historian (at Chapman, he got some kind of "Teaching" Masters with an emphasis in history) with something important to teach the world about what "really happened"—the ADL (or was it the BSA?) killing Kennedy, etc.—not the "lies" we've been told.
     And just who are the “Sons of Confederate Veterans”? Well, they’re pretty much what you’d expect them to be: clueless right-wing knuckleheads and sometimes worse. (You'll recall that, twenty years ago, Steve was enamored of the notorious Institute for Historical Review, a local Holocaust denial group.) The SCV in particular seem to have become a rallying point around the notion that history has lied about the Confederacy and the Union and their little war and that "the South was right"—about "state's rights," among other things.
     No doubt that’s true in all sorts of ways—about the lying, not the state's rights. But one must be careful how one restacks the deck.
     These people aren’t careful.
     Four months before the June 2011 Ship's Log, in an article by Mark Potok appearing in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hatewatch (Once Again, Racism Rears Up in the Sons of Confederate Veterans), we’re told that
     For much of the last decade, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) has been roiled by an internal civil war between racial extremists and those who want to keep the Southern heritage group a kind of history and genealogy club.
     It’s beginning to look like the racists won.
     First came the news, originally reported on this blog last August [2010], that the SCV was planning a Feb. 19 march down Dexter Avenue here in Montgomery, Ala., to “CELEBRATE THE BEGINNING OF THE CONFEDERACY” and ensure that it “is remembered and portrayed in the right way.” What the SCV meant by “the right way” was made obvious by its website promoting the event, which insists that “the South was right!”….
     And now, from the Mississippi Division of the SCV, comes this new gem: The group wants the state to issue a special license plate, keyed like the Montgomery march to the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, to honor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest — a millionaire Memphis slave trader before the war, an apparent war criminal who presided over the massacre of surrendering black prisoners at Fort Pillow, Tenn., during it, and the first national leader of the Ku Klux Klan afterward, when the Klan’s terrorist violence paved the way to a Jim Crow South.
     Potok goes on to provide the grisly details. And they are pretty grisly.

No doubt Steve got all breathy, like he used to do
     South Orange County is pretty special, ain't it? Lots of rednecks, amateur historians, Tea Partiers, et al.
     So it appears that old Steve, Marine vet and resident of Lake Forest, has continued his Revisionist ways and, as usual, he's found lots of company.
     Frogue’s still a member of the local “Sons.” You can find him in the Sept/Oct 2014 edition of the Ship's Log getting some kind of prize:


So, what’s happened to Jolene Fuentes, Tom’s widow?

     She and the Fuentes wing of the OC GOP got in a huff when Jolene was not selected to replace her husband on the SOCCCD Board. They made lots of noise, but the event faded without consequence.
     After that, Jolene was appointed, by the Lake Forest City Council, to the City’s planning commission in 2013.
     That looked mighty hinky. Fuentes had no experience. Alternative candidates did.
     In March of this year, the generally excellent “Voice of OC” published a guest editorial by Jim Gardner, a psychologist and businessman who ran (and lost) for City Council in 2008. (See Community Editorial: Planning Commission Is Not for Politics, Voice of OC, March 26, 2014)
     He wrote:
     A little more than six months ago, Jolene Fuentes was appointed to the Planning Commission in Lake Forest amid controversy about her lack of background, experience and education, given the excellent qualifications of the applicants passed over in favor of her.
     The controversy was exacerbated by the claim of then Mayor Scott Voigts that he had no idea why he cast the deciding vote for Fuentes, failing to mention the $1,000 contribution to his 2010 campaign from (now deceased) Tom Fuentes, the Republican bigwig and husband of Jolene.
     In the intervening months, Fuentes' record of attendance has been poor, and that’s on a commission that already cancels more than 20% of its meetings.
     Fuentes has made few, if any, constructive contributions to the proceedings on the Planning Commission….
     Well, you can read the piece for yourself.
     Four months later, Gardner offered similar points in the far less reliable “OC Politics Blog,” run by political loose cannon Art Pedroza:

Political cronyism destroys Lake Forest’s Planning Commission
July 29, 2014 by James Gardner
     …Lake Forest is undergoing its own “spoils system” scandal since the election of Dwight Robinson and Adam Nick to the City Council in 2012. Joining together with incumbent Scott Voigts, they dismissed the well regarded and long standing members of both the Planning Commission (PC) and the Parks and Recreation Commission (PRC), and inserted their own set of loyalists, many of whom had no prior experience in either area, and had never attended meetings of either group. What they did share was personal loyalty to Voigts and/or Robinson. Their first appointments included an employee of Robinson and a campaign worker for Voigts and the son-in-law of a big campaign contributor to both Robinson and Voigts. The most blatant and most egregious appointment was Jolene Fuentes, widow of long-time Republican old guard big wig Tom Fuentes, who confessed to no knowledge of the PC or of planning in general, and who upon appointment proceeded to miss two of her first three meetings.
     Now more than 18 months after their “Kristallnacht”, we can view the results of political cronyism and the spoils system at work. With regard to the Planning Commission, since the Voigts cabal joined the PC –
  • there have been more appeals of PC decisions than in the previous 20 year history of the City
  • there have been more PC decisions overturned than in the previous 20 year history of the City
  • there have been more resignations of PC Commissioners than in the previous 20 year history of the City, with one Commissioner specifically mentioning the disruption caused by the Voigts’ sycophants as a proximate cause….
     So the Fuentes legacy lives on, it seems. Bullying, cheating, hypocrisy, etc.

SEE ALSO Lake Forest Ex-Councilman Calls on Residents to 'Rise Up' (Voice of OC, October 24, 2013)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

But the “telephonic narration” never came

     Back on the 7th, we were informed about the coming “Great California ShakeOut.” In an email (from theVPI, I think), we were told:
Major earthquakes may happen at any time, nearly anywhere in California. Help us keep our students and community prepared and safe by encouraging participation in this year’s Great California ShakeOut statewide annual earthquake drill. At 10:16 a.m. on October 16, 2014, millions of Californians will practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” along with millions of others in many other states and countries….
     There were instructions. Before the drill, we’re supposed to read stuff about how Cal is earthquake country, etc. Then we’re supposed to explain to students what they can do when an earthquake hits: drop to the floor, that sort of thing.
     “When the drill begins,” we’re told, “loudly instruct your students to
• Drop to the ground now, before the ground jerks strongly and throws you down.

• Take Cover under something sturdy to protect yourself from objects being hurled across the room. Or stay low and protect yourself from flying objects with your hands and arms.

• Hold On to your shelter or hold your position until the shaking stops.
     OK. Then it says:
Once the telephonic narration is over, all buildings will be evacuated….
     Well, anyway, I kind of forgot about the drill when I got to the college this morning, though I had read through the instructions and was prepared to tell the students to drop and grab onto something, etc.
     So, just after 10, the buzzer (loud!) went off. Students looked amazed and bewildered. I told ‘em to drop to the floor and hang onto something. They resisted. I had to insist. They kept giving me this look: “Really? You’re not kidding?”
     Nope, not kidding. Over the din, I explained that the exercise is a good thing. Everybody should be prepared for the Big One, which is bound to come.
     The kids complied. I was impressed. I told 'em they look good down there.
     I told ‘em about how stuff would fly around in a real big quake. You don’t wanna be hit by that clock over there and the glass over here, I said.
     Meanwhile, that buzzer sounded.
     BUT HERE'S THE THING: the “telephonic narration” never came. I kept waiting for it. Nope. Nothin'.
     After a bit, the students started to look at me for direction. “Now what?”
     I said, “We’re supposed to get directions over the phone. Doesn’t look like that’s gonna happen.”
     I’ve been through this before. During the last ShakeOut (I’m in room A202), the phone refused to utter a sound, though we were told it would, and so, afterward, I complained.
     Wasn’t fixed, I guess.
     So, again, over the din, I explained that the Big One is REAL and it is important to stop and think about it before it happens, get prepared for it. Get a kit for your car. Coordinate with friends and loved ones pre-earthquake. Etc.
     I was pretty compelling, I think. I meant everything I said, and students saw that.
     But that telephonic narration never came.
     So, whatever.
     Have a nice day.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Steam heat!

Rebel Girl's own camera failed her today so here is a stock photo of cleanliness.  Come to A-200 and see for yourself.
Today it was brought to Rebel Girl's attention that the A-200 restrooms, usually bio-hazards by mid-morning, had been, by dawn's early light, power-washed and steam cleaned.   They are now gleaming - even the stalls where visible dust had been rising for some time now like distant storm clouds on the horizon.  Colleagues, staff - and yes, students, told her all about it.  (It's really something when your students speak to you about the restrooms.  Just sayin'.) She had to go see for herself.  She tried to take a photo, but somehow clean is much more difficult to photograph than filth.  You'll have to see for yourself.

So many thanks to those who labored on this project.

For your enjoyment below,  "Steam Heat," a clip from the unlikely pro-labor musical, "The Pajama Game."  "Fellow union members, that's what we're doing: getting HOT!"



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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The office furnishings imbroglio


     As you know, for years now, IVC faculty have been consternatin’ and peevin’ about the planning and construction of new buildings—the latest being A400, the new home of Humanities and Languages (and Social Sciences), scheduled to open in a semester or two.
     It’s a repeating cycle. At first, Brandye and the architects (and, at IVC, the unpopular Director of Facilities/Maintenance, John Edwards) show up making big happy noises about a new era of faculty input. “You’ll have input at every stage!”
     But that always ends up seeming like a sack of hooey.
     Consider the case of A400. Recently, faculty were informed that, in order to save money, the Director has decided that the college must stick to the established “standard,” according to which only designated shitty muted colors will be allowed and furniture options will run the gamut from A (odd1) to B (odd2). (Never mind that faculty have at no point been consulted about any college standard.)
     A particular sore point was the discovery that A400 planners were proceeding on the assumption that there will be no office bookshelves, or that the bookshelving will be highly limited.
     That inspired some serious gnashing of teeth among Humanists, boy. “Don’t these people know what a college is!” we thundered. WTF!
     As usual, President Roquemore has only made things worse by seemingly positioning himself on both sides of the issue and writing confusing clarifying blatherings.
     It’s the same old same old here at IVC.
     We’ve been told that there’ll be no faculty desks in the strict sense of desk. Nope, there’ll be deskesque flat surfaces, sans drawers, held up by two legs.
     Really?
     Some faculty have been carpin’ that there’s no need for all this. Why not just lug over the desks we’re using now? Why do we have to spend money on this odd, Spartan desketry?
     In the midst of all this drama, "word" is that, according to the district, we'll be spending about $25,000 per office for furnishings.
     $25,000! And for what?
     The “standard” desketry for the new A400 offices is mighty pricey, it seems. The desk “legs,” we've been told, are about $700 per pair. And the deskular surface (sans drawers) that those legs will be holding up is about $1,100. That’s nearly two thousand bucks for deskus minimus simpliciter!
     How’s that possible?
     We’ve been considering the possibilities. Some suggest a visit to IKEA. Some sense a boondoggle. Some suggest that, um, maybe those are the list prices, not the real prices!
     We’re trying to get the facts. We'll get back atcha.